WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — People throughout the community mourn the loss of a young man who spent his short life helping others.
Joel Solis, 24, died in a car crash on the Turnpike this weekend.
He worked as a mechanic for Jack the Bike Man, a local hero, who fixes up bicycles and gives them to underprivileged children across West Palm Beach.
It all started with a flat tire.
Solis met Jack the Bike Man when he was 10 years old while dragging his bike down the street.
"He was very close to me," Jack Hairston said. "I gave him a pump taught him how to change inter tubes."
From there, Solis found his passion.
He began fixing bikes for his family and friends, then working for Jack the Bike Man full-time after graduating high school.
"He’ll be a big hole to fill up," Hairston said.
He says Solis was the go-to guy to get things done.
"He’d pick out just the right bike for that kid," Hairston said. "Just the right color. Make sure the helmet fit."
Anthony Hardwick worked with Solis and had met up with him last Thursday.
"He wanted make more money so he could get married and start a family," he said. "I said you have plenty of time to get loaded down with marriage and family and stuff."
Two days later, Solis died.
"It’s scary to like see somebody so young and kind of like sniffed out, you know?" Hardwick said.
It's a hole in the shop that will never be replaced.
"It’s no guarantee how much life we have left, so if you have dreams and hopes and aspirations, don’t dilly dally," Hardwick said. "Get to it."
Jack the Bike Man is collecting money for Joel's funeral expenses.
He says you can bring donations here or write a check to Joel Solis and send it.
Any extra money will be given to Joel's mother.