I was given the name of Turbo at the age of 16. A few years later the phrase “slow down turbo” became a thing. I was nicknamed before that phrase but unfortunately, everybody assumed I was nicknamed after. I’m going to tell you the story about how I got my nickname but first, you need to know a few important details.
My very first job
My very first job was at a go-kart track in Reno, Nevada called The Ultimate Rush Speed and Thrill Park. I was 15 and a half years old. My dad knew a guy who worked there and got me a job. I showed up the very first day and my job was simple. I was to help people get in the go-karts, buckle their seatbelts, and ride the karts for 5 minutes. During the race, my job was to sit on a rock.
The funny part about sitting on the rock is that it made me feel like I had an office nine-to-five job. At a normal 9 to 5 job you typically sit in some kind of cubicle for long periods of time. My job was to sit on this rock and watch for go-kart Riders to wreck each other. If there was a wreck I would run out turn the cars around and go back to the rock. That rock was like my desk chair.
One of the most important things you need to know about my job was that I helped people sit in the go-karts and put on their seatbelts. Then I stood in front of all the go-karts with the microphone and read them the rules as if I was the law. After the rules, I would pull a metal stake from the ground and the go karts would leave the pits.
After all the go-karts left the pits my job was to move all of the go-karts forward. That way at the end of the race, when we bring in all of the go-karts, there’s not a long backup line of cars. This usually took about 30 seconds to a minute depending on the number of cars needing to be pushed. One by one you would push all the go-karts forward.
Once you’re done with the go-karts you return to the rock. Now it’s important at this point to understand one thing. There were always two of us watching the track and go karts at any given time. There was a person who could control the go-karts. Basically starting or stopping them when there was a crash or wreck. There were two of us that would sit or stand by the rock and watch for spinning go-karts. At the start of each race one person sat on the rock and then the other person pushed the go-karts forward.
This rock that I keep mentioning sits directly in the middle of the go-kart track. A short jog in either direction and you can turn the go-karts around in less than 10 seconds. That’s a very important detail to know because the person on the rock has a small advantage of beating the person in the pits to a wreck on the go-kart track.
The famous wreck that nickname me.
I remember the day I got the nickname Turbo. It was January 18th 2002. The band Papa Roach came to the go-kart track to ride the go-karts. The manager of the go-karts got me onto the guest list and we went to the concert that same night. It was a night I won’t forget but that’s another story. The band Papa Roach rode the go karts and the guitarist wrecked the lead singer.
I pulled the metal stakes from the ground and let the road go-karts take off. As I was pushing the remaining go-karts forward when I heard the go-karts come to a complete stop. The person who is in control of starting and stopping the go-karts will actually slow down or stop the carts when there is a wreck.
So straight out of the gate I pull the pin, the band takes off, and the guitar player wrecks the lead singer. I’m pushing go-karts forward in the pits because I assumed the other kid sitting on the rock would beat me to the wreck. A few seconds go by and I look up to see the kid sitting on the rock not paying attention.
Some other employees were on break while watching all of this unfold. One of them whistled at the kid sitting on the rock and they were screaming his name.
By the second or third time they scream his name, I ran all the way to the farthest point of the track and turned the cars around.
Remember earlier when I told you that the person on the rock had a small advantage getting to the go-kart wrecks first? By the time the kid realize they were screaming at him I had already solved the problem. I ran super fast and that’s when a little twelve-year-old spoke up.
A young girl is standing in line with her dad and she says “Look daddy. It’s like he has turbos on his feet”. The owner of the company happened to be standing outside and overheard the little girl. He heard the word turbo and it’s stuck with me ever since.
I got the nickname Turbo because I can run really fast and I beat a kid to a go-kart wreck who had a slight advantage over me.
But obviously that can’t be the whole story. I’d be pretty pissed off if somebody got me over to a blog and I read about how some asshole got a nickname from of a twelve-year-old girl.
The legend of Turbo spread throughout my co-workers. Everybody wanted to race me. With a nickname like Turbo you better be able to outrun anyone. Over a few years I ended up racing everybody that worked at the company. I left my last day on the job undefeated.
There was a co-worker who almost beat me a time or two. But he didn’t. That guy and I never got along. So when I beat him every time I would talk shit for the rest of the week. Many times the owner would come into the garage, where we would sit on break, and he would give anybody $100 if they could beat me. Nobody got the prize including myself. What I got was for much better.
Because of my nickname and reputation I shot up the leaderboard for seniority rather quickly. I’ve always been good at my job but I was especially good at this job. The hardest thing I had to do was push up motorized go karts and sit on a rock and run out to turn cars around.
The nickname stuck with me even when I left the go-karts and I worked across the street at the second part of the company. On one side we have the go-karts and on the other side we had a thrill ride called The Ultimate Rush. It’s a body swing that stands 180 ft in the air. You release a ripcord and you free fall. And then it’s like riding a giant hang glider. It’s a pretty awesome ride and overtime I was promoted to operate the ride.
I even kept the nickname when I traveled on the road for two years with a thrill ride that we bought from Germany. We were the only people in the U.S. to have this ride. We went to a different city each week and every time I would meet a girl or some girls would ask who I was, my nickname was always given.
My co-workers never said “oh that’s Russ”. No no no. They were trying to get the girl for themselves. They thought if they called me Turbo it would persuade the woman to go with my co-worker. Turns out that’s not the case. Women actually like nicknames.
I guess you could say the 12 year old little girl was my wing man. I had a little girl give me a nickname which helps me get girls my own age. If that’s not the definition of a wingman I don’t know what is. So that’s the story on how I got my nickname of Turbo. I could run really fast and I was always into sports and it paid off.
You should never be afraid to admit your nickname. Even when it’s really embarrassing it might make someone’s day.