One of the most popular people on YouTube is not an entertainer or sports star. He’s just an ordinary guy. Well, he may seem ordinary, but you have to look closely to see how special Kyle Lindsey can be. I learned that from his littlest fan.
Six-year-old Andrew Kees has a love affair with cars. It began when he was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. His greatest comfort was the sound of a young, carefree voice asking: “Hey everybody, how's it going?”
Andrew wasn't the only one listening to Kyle Lindsey's car reviews. In the past three years, they have been viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube.
The person behind that voice is not whom you would expect. He sells neither cars, nor himself. In fact, he seldom appears on camera. That's because he's busy with his day job. The 23-year-old is a scientist, studying full-time for his doctorate in pharmacy. Kyle started his car reviews to relieve the stress of college.
“Did you just stumble into this?” I asked.
“Yes,” he chuckled. “Sorta.”
During a break from his studies, Kyle decided to make a random car video, a bumper-to-bumper tour, demonstrating everything about the vehicle. “It's almost like a little car encyclopedia, in a video format,” he said.
His hobby got a bit out of hand. He did nearly one video per day: about 1,500, so far. No nonsense, sales-free examinations of practically anything with wheels and an engine.
His mom began to worry. “I thought it was the biggest waste of time,” Jan Lindsey told me.
But Kyle's dad knows winners aren't always the most obvious people. Bill Lindsey played eight months with the Chicago White Sox, after nine years of trying. That's how Kyle learned the small print in dreams.
"When he starts something, he finishes it,” Bill said. “And he’s not happy until it's perfect.”
Kyle accepts no money from the car industry, but the folks at YouTube started selling ads with his reviews. Now his part-time hobby pays him six figures, enough to buy four cars. What does a man who's seen everything prefer to drive?
“My real heart and my real passion is for the classics,” Kyle said. Like the ’48 Ford his grandparents filled with love. Now Kyle's teaching his girl friend Crystal Willis how to drive one just like it.
“Give it a little gas,” Kyle coached.
The car lurched. “NO! Too much.”
On their first date, Kyle picked Crystal up in a Hyundai. Crystal laughed: “I guess he can tell you how Hyundai is doing a lot better now."
So is Kyle. He's making more than most pharmacists. Does he still plan to wear a white coat and count pills?
Andrew, the little boy with the brain tumor, helped him decide. Last summer, Andrew's mom told him: “You have one wish. What would you want in the whole wide world?”
Andrew longed to watch Kyle tape a review, but figured, “I'm never going to because it's going to be too expensive.”
But his dream came true. Andrew’s family traveled 600 miles from their home near Detroit so he could meet the man who eased his pain.
“Andrew's wish was given to him at a time when we didn't know if he would survive,” his mom said.
By year's end, Andrew was cancer-free. And Kyle has decided to continue studying to be a pharmacist. His enthusiasm and deep knowledge have already filled one little boy's brain with more than a tumor. That's Kyle's prescription for happiness.
If viewers would like to contact Kyle or Andrew, here’s their contact information:
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COMING SOON: Bob Dotson’s book “American Story: A Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things,” will be released March 26, 2013. To learn more about it, click here.