Robert "Chris" Robinson became a "sign-holder" for the Little Caesars at Park and Mendenhall with one clear goal: to make money. The job was simple: Stand on the street corner, hold the sign, and move some pizza. Once Robinson hit the streets, according to one manager, he became "the best sign-holder" they've ever had.
By angling the sign across his body, wedging one side under an arm, and fiercely strumming its front, he fashioned an air guitar. Robinson then cranked up the volume on his mp3 player and began rocking out, giving countless commuters a memorable -- albeit wholly unexpected -- ride home.
Robinson's act has made him a local celebrity. As blogs sing his praises and word-of-mouth directs drivers to East Memphis to see him for themselves, Little Caesars is reaping the profits -- and loving every minute of it.
-- by Christina Leatherman
Flyer: What's with the air guitar?
Robinson: If I just stood out there and did nothing, that would be pretty boring. I have to do something to make things fun for myself.
I got out there and I was like, wait ... here's a sign with two holes. I could put my hand here. And that was it.
Have you ever caused a traffic accident or hurt someone else while on the job?
I've never hurt anybody else. ... Sometimes, my friends will ride by and I'll mess with them. You know, I might kick over their heads when they're not looking. A couple of times I've fallen over!
I know you don't reveal your work music, but Who are your musical inspirations?
Well, if I told you that, then you would know what I'm listening to ...
I mean, like, heavy metal or ...
Well, it's not like I'm listening to classical out there. [It's] basically anything with a guitar.
What about more classic rock: Pink Floyd or Metallica?
Okay, I'm gonna go ahead and spill it -- just for you. I love Metallica. Most of the stuff on my mp3 player is Metallica.
Could you do this without your mp3 player?
I could, but boy, would I think I was crazy!
Every single guy on the planet at some point in their life has played air guitar, whether they admit it or not. Usually, when I see someone make fun of me, I just get out there and play even harder. If I stop, they win.
Has anybody ever thrown anything at you?
One guy threw an orange soda at me! I had to block it with my sign, but it was funny. I've done some pretty crazy things out there.