Hartland Community Donates More Than $1,000 to 'Dancing Sign Guy'
Holiday gift arrives as Grand Blanc man hopes to catch the hints of a better economy in Michigan.
Lance Glazier is known around Hartland as the "dancing sign guy" for his silly moves, infectious smile and upbeat attitude while working as a human billboard along the community's busiest road for a store that specializes in the buying of gold and silver.
The 40-year-old single-father of three took the job after he lost his previous one as a sales rep for Frito-Lay last January and could find no other work.
But now Hartland is dancing and smiling back with more than $1,000 raised by a local coffee shop as an early Christmas gift for Glazier and his family.
“It’s great to see people rallying around someone that’s trying,” Glazier said Tuesday after receiving the money at Kahuna Coffee. “You gotta believe in yourself and feel God in your heart; it’s such a blessing. And soon, I’ll be able to pay it forward.”
Working to 'get off the corner'
Glazier's willingness to take a job that pays less and drive about 30 miles from his home in a neighboring county echoes the findings of a recent NPR/Kasier Family Foundation survey of long-term unemployed or underemployed that found people are now willing to make great sacrifices. Among them: More than 85 percent are willing to take an entry-level job and even 40 percent would consider move to another state for work.
“There were days where I was not as happy as I looked, but then the next smile comes along, the next wave."
Glazier — who is among the 18.8 percent of people who are either unemployed or underemployed in Michigan — is hopeful he can find a better job soon. And he has reason to be optimistic. The state's umemployment rate fell to a three-year low this month to 9.8 percent.
“It’s sometimes very frustrating,” Glazier said of the lack of job offers. “There were days where I was not as happy as I looked, but then the next smile comes along, the next wave. But I have some things in the works, so I think I will be off the corner soon.”
The Grand Blanc man — whose children are 5, 7 and 12 — arrived at the intersection of M-59 and Old U.S. 23 after his friend Dave Gravelle, who had opened up Solid Gold Jewelry in July, offered him the job. Glazier quickly transformed the role into an entertaining show for passing motorists. (See the video with this story to watch his moves).
“He’s out there making everybody smile,” said Kahuna's owner Cathy Jones. “And they love it.”
'It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy'
His story attracted the attention of local media starting in September, which helped spread news of his hard luck around the community. Because of all this exposure, Glazier's name and story kept coming up when Kahuna started its holiday fundraiser this month from the sale of handmade, donated wooden ornaments by a local craftsman who wanted to remain anonymous.
The sale raised more than $600, an amount that was nearly doubled by $500 from another anonymous donor.
“It just makes me proud to be a Hartland resident and to be part of this,” Jones said. “In today’s world there’s so many crazy things going on and to see people come together like this, to give a family a Christmas, it’s overwhelming. It’s emotional for me.”
Gravelle calls the gift "an amazing" blessing.
“And for this small community to do something so beautiful, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy,” he said.
And now with a small promotion at the store, Glazier will now be working inside on some days. He says he is thankful for all the support he has been given this past year.
“I’ve met a few of them (Hartland residents), and waved to a lot of them,” he said. “But for the most part they don’t know anything about me. But they do know that I could be wallowing in my misery, I guess, but I’m out there working and I’m out there having fun and they’re having fun with me.”
You can find more articles from this ongoing series, “Dispatches: The Changing American Dream” from across the country at The Huffington Post.