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Local man dances in the heat and entertains motorists while he promotes pizzas
Date published: 7/9/2012
BY JONAS BEALS
Heat isn't something most people worry about when they're driving on State Route 3. Cars are refrigerated cocoons that insulate from scorching temperatures and potential interaction with other humans.
But one sweat-soaked man on the corner of Route 3 and Salem Church Road has a smile that cuts through sheet metal and the angry apathy of the daily commuter. His name is Robert Wigglesworth, and he makes people happy.
Since April, Wigglesworth has been a human billboard for a nearby Domino's Pizza franchise. Every weekday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., he pushes in his earbuds, taps "Play" on his iPod ("Honestly, it's Jennifer Lopez," he said with a guilty laugh last week), hangs a Domino's sign around his neck and proceeds to dance his head off. For hours.
It may sound like an elaborate punishment devised by a particularly cruel and unusual judge, but Wigglesworth does it willingly. In fact, he gets paid to do it--substantially, he said.
Still, a conversation revealed a bit of penance in his actions. He didn't share details, but spoke vaguely about mistakes made and running with the wrong crowd.
Now he's 29, with positive spirituality on his side and faith in a better future. So he stands on a sweltering street corner, moving his body as if his life depends on it.
"Everything I went through prior in my life," he said, "that's where my energy comes from."
It's not a defined dance, more of a continuous bounce peppered with wide-armed waves and knowing finger points. He's tilting at anonymous windshields, but there's an earnest conviction in his movements that suggests a lifelong friendship with the people in those vehicles.
It's surprising how many people wave back. Or honk, or roll down their windows and shout. He greets each of those gestures with a chesty "Whoop!" and keeps on gyrating.
He thinks about his future when he's sweating out there. He is taking online classes. He hopes to become a building inspector. He wants to buy his own double-wide.
He has a 10-year-old daughter named Makayla who lives in Caroline County. He lives in Partlow. He thinks about her a lot.
He thinks about what drivers see when they stop at the red light in front of him.