July 03, 2006


A couple of weeks ago, I drove past the corner of Bloomingdale and U.S. 301 on a Saturday. We were driving some friends from out of town to the Florida Aquarium when we saw a guy wearing a Spider-Man costume and waving to traffic.

I really wanted to stop and talk to the guy, but we had places to be.

Long story short, while Patrick and I were on our way home from getting fireworks, I finally tracked him down on Saturday to the corner of Parsons Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard in Brandon. He was out in front of a Texaco in a small patch of the gas station's parking lot, taking photos with children and signing autographs.


This is Hector Quinones. He's a 37-year-old physical therapist and car buff from Riverview.

A couple years ago, he spent $7,000 to mack out his car in Spider-Man motif. His wife went online to buy him a Spidey costume so he could wear it to car shows.

It was such a big hit that he decided to use the get-up to raise money after a friend who has four children got diabetes and couldn't work. He poses for photos for a small donation and gives the money to his friend as well as to autism charities. His 10-year-old son Brian has autism. His other son, Angel, 5, has ADHD.

Every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3, Quinones poses for photos as a friend snaps the shots and prints them on a portable printer.

In just two hours on Saturday, he had already made $240.


This 5-year-old boy named Jonny stood in awe as Quinones posed with him.


Quinones signs autographs to each child and includes them with the photo.


This 2-year-old, whose name was Nolan, wasn't sure what to make of it all. He was almost as happy to watch the traffic go by as he was to take a photo with Spider-Man.


Lost in all the hoopla is that Quinones has one tricked-out ride. That back square where the tag usually goes? That's a flat-panel TV screen.


Spider-Man says: Buckle up.


The amount of detail inside the car is amazing. If you didn't know there was a cartoon on the side, you'd be pretty impressed at the styling of the interior.


Uh oh. Looks like someone has a lead foot.


Every photo is enclosed in a special paper frame that Quinones has customized as well.


What can I say? Spidey insisted that we take a photo.

As some might remember, I have a special fondness for Spidey. I grew up reading Spider-Man comic books and, well, I sort of fell for this statue I saw in New Orleans at a Sharper Image a few years back:


Posted by Jeff at July 3, 2006 08:56 AM | TrackBack

Awesome! If I see him climbing on the buildings around town, I'll get out my wallet and call him down. Cool car, great cause!

Posted by: Laura at July 3, 2006 11:52 AM

Awesome post!

Posted by: at July 3, 2006 03:30 PM

I hope that now this is on t3h intarnets that the comic book people don't come crashing down on him :-/

Posted by: tim at July 3, 2006 06:08 PM

Take that - Pimp My Ride!

Posted by: kate at July 3, 2006 11:11 PM
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