Vertical Freedom (2022) Movie Script

Six, five,
four, three, two...
That's it
for these guys for the day.
I remember,
I was like-- I couldn't believe
people went up there.
People worked up there.
And I was like,
"That would be so cool."
The climb itself...
the elevation...
it's the movement.
You have
an adrenaline rush.
And that's what
kind of hooks you.
You know what?
This is what it's about.
This is pushing yourself
to where you think
you can't go no more,
but then finding,
then, it's--
you got way more
left in the tank.
The adrenaline I had.
The thrill. The excitement.
You know,
to some people we're crazy,
and to some people
we're brave.
You know, I--
it could either go both ways.
You know, maybe
the second or third day in,
we went and climbed the 60-foot
practice tower out back.
My adrenaline
just started pumping.
And that was only 60-foot.
At one point I was like,
"Wow, really?"
Like, you really
freaking out right now?
I think
I embrace the adventure.
But with the height
comes a lot more challenges.
'Cause a lot
can really go wrong
if you're not paying attention.
When you're working
at a height like that,
you-- you just need
to worry about
what's ten feet around you.
What's ten feet above you,
what's ten feet below you,
and what's ten feet
on either side.
Fear, or being scared
of doing what I do,
it doesn't hold me back.
It does drive me.
The fear that I have,
is to make sure that I am able
to go up and come home.
Um, once you get up there,
there's no one
watching over your shoulder
making sure
you do things the right way,
so you better make sure
that you're doing things
the right way.
Otherwise, gravity wins,
and gravity's a bitch.
I grew up climbing
in New York when I lived there.
Uh, I lived in a town
called Dix Hills,
and I had an apple tree
in the back.
My dad rigged
this milk carton
he cut the hole
out of on a stick,
so he can get the apple
he wanted up high in it,
and shake it lose
and bring it down.
I was-- you know, I was young,
but I was always persistent
about climbing the tree,
and I'll go get that apple.
I was always a climber.
on anything I could just to--
just to sit on top of it.
And-- uh, and just
almost conquer it, you know?
I'm not one to sit around.
Always looking
for the next thrill.
I-- I like
my blood pumping
and I look at things
differently, I guess.
People are really
afraid of heights.
And I'd say
90% of-- of people
don't like heights,
don't like getting on a ladder,
can't get on a-- on a--
on a roof of a house.
And I'm the guy in the back,
you know, raising my hand.
"Can I go next?"
Today is a gift.
That's why they call it
the present, you know?
Yesterday, nobody cares about.
Tomorrow is--
is-- is not given.
You know?
It's-- it's-- You're here now.
Live for the moment
and enjoy
every second you have.
... it's gonna be gone
like that.
My name
is Andrew Jeremiah Lealofi.
And, to me,
that's two American names.
I would tell my dad,
"Hey, why didn't I get
a Samoan name?
I mean,
you have my oldest brother,
a Lealofi Jr.
Then you have Apineru,
Aloali'i, Yosefa.
They all have these wonderful,
great Samoan names,
and then you just have
Andrew Jeremiah.
And, uh, he said,
"I did give you a Samoan name.
You're a Lealofi.
Um, it wasn't 'til
he threw that at me,
that I finally felt
that I am.
Is that perfect,
or is that just me?
- It's gettin' there.
- Oh.
I do live the lifestyle
of being a proud Samoan.
That's just allowing your light
and your happiness
to engulf every--
everything and anything
that you touch,
see and speak into,
and that they feel a part of,
you know, your own tribe.
That they can call you
a brother or, you know,
you feel that connection
for another sister out there.
And I have to rise up
every single morning
and give thanks.
And, uh, I can't wait to see
what happens, you know?
That's the-- the story.
What happens next?
Kinda high energy
if we're doing something.
I'm like a "let's get it done"
type guy.
I like to do things
more adventurous, I guess.
But I don't know how I could
really answer that, really.
I mean, I just see myself as
kind of just a guy, you know?
We grew up
around Dallas-Fort Worth,
and we grew up just like,
uh, any other family, you know?
There was five of us,
we were poor.
My mom
is a down-to-earth farm girl
from North Dakota,
South Dakota area.
And my dad, um,
he grew up in Vietnam,
and he started fightin' the war
when he was young.
I wanna say
he started fightin'
when he was, like, nine or ten
or something like that.
Came over here
after The Fall of Saigon.
Oh! Let's go.
It was the '80s and '90s
and there wasn't
a lot of blended families.
You got called names
and stuff like that.
I always say I'm more
Vietnamese that anything,
because growing up, like,
I couldn't say I was white
because people'd be like, "Man,
you're crazy, you're brown,"
You know? So...
How many you got?
I'm passionate
about everything I do.
So, I mean...
All right, guys, I wanna get
everyone's belts over here
and we'll-- we'll have
our belt inspection...
I'm not here
just to be normal, you know?
I'm not here just...
If you put me in McDonald's
frying fries, man,
I'm gonna give you
the-- the best,
crispiness fry you ever got.
Like, 'cause that's what I'll--
I mean...
if you're gonna do something
why not try
to be the best at it?
The climb.
You're gonna clip in
and you're gonna look up
to that tower.
See how you're gonna get
from point A to point B.
And you're gonna
feel that steel.
And you're gonna grab it,
you're gonna hold onto it.
Put your feet on it.
One foot
in front of the other.
Grab, step, grab, step,
all the way to the top.
You're gonna get
to where you need to work.
You're gonna clip off.
And then,
the day's just begun.
Yeah, I don't know, the job
isn't for everybody.
There's a lot of people
that come into the office
saying that, "I could do that.
I'm not scared of heights."
You don't know what to expect
when you're on the--
when you're on the ground,
until you get out there
to the job site.
In the middle of nowhere,
on top of a mountaintop,
in the middle of a field
and you're climbing,
you know, these towers.
There's nobody around.
This job
is a lot of mental awareness
about what you're doing.
You have to have
somewhat of a free spirit
to be up there.
You know, you have to like
that adrenaline at first.
I know a couple people
that are afraid of heights,
then climb.
Still do it,
because of just, you know,
what comes along with it,
outside of the heights.
I mean, it's-- it's more
than just the heights.
It's physically demanding
and mentally demanding.
There's no real way
of getting your body
conditioned to working out.
The only way
to do it is do it.
And let that, you know,
pain, or whatever,
you know, go through it.
Oh, you're good.
Just keep coming.
Yeah, I'm on my way.
You just get gassed
really easily,
uh, climbing up like that.
And then you have the extra
weight from your harness
and-- and any tools
that you have on you.
You get up to about 200 foot,
and you look up.
And that's just kind of
what you keep doing
when you're climbing:
you just keep looking up to see
how much further
you have to go and--
yeah, you look down and...
you barely even,
you know, made a mark.
It's the first
2,000-footer I think I climbed.
Or maybe it's, like, 1,900.
I remember that,
the whole crew was there,
and everyone's like,
"Nah, I'm goin' to the top.
I'm goin' to the top."
And this is typical
tower hand stuff,
especially with newer guys.
So, like,
people stop off at, like,
300 feet, 400 feet,
and they pick from there.
And then,
you know, on up.
By the time I got to,
like, 800 feet,
I was like, "Wow, man,
maybe I should've stopped off
down there."
You know?
I ended up
climbing the whole thing
with him and rigging it.
But I was gassed after that,
man, like...
I was hurtin',
like, I was like, wow.
You are in all types
of weather.
Weather-- being--
being down here in Florida,
we're in extreme heat
in the summer.
In hurricane season
we can have some pretty--
pretty nasty rainstorms
that come through.
And if you're on the tower,
you're going to try
to get some shelter,
but you're gonna harness
off and-- and hook in and--
and you're gonna sit there
and you're gonna take it.
is our cut-off these days.
You know,
I've-- I think I've gotten--
I've gotten used to it
at this point.
But I have had some,
with the wind chill,
maybe -15, -20.
I make sure I tell all my guys,
you know,
"Bundle up,
man, you know?"
It's, uh--
it may not feel cold down here,
but you get up there
and you sit
for even 30 minutes,
y-- you'll feel it.
You know, that wind
just cuts right through you.
Rain, sleet and hail.
And the wind was just amazing.
All the greatness.
And then right when
we found our breaking point,
a little bit
of sunshine came.
Just at the right spot,
you know?
The coolest thing ever
is when you're climbing
a 2,000-foot tower
and you can't see the top.
'Cause you've got to climb
through this section
of the clouds
and it's miserable.
It's like, uh, drizzly,
rainy, it's all gray.
Like, it's really gray.
You can only see
the tower by you.
And you get through it,
your hands are wet,
your gloves are wet.
And then you come out top
and you look down
and the clouds are just,
like, white.
Cotton balls.
And it's just the brightest
blue sky you can ever see.
You're gonna get tired,
you're gonna get sweaty.
You need to stay focused.
Sometimes you wanna
rush through it
and get up to the top
and finish the job,
but I find myself
slowing myself down a lot.
Pay attention and get the work
done with-- with quality, uh...
and enjoy the view.
The climb. Man.
When you get up there,
you get a heavenly moment.
it's just awesome, so...
every climb
is a great one, yeah.
It's a thrill.
There's sometimes you'll
be working in the mountains,
and you'll look down
and the clouds will be
coming up over the mountains
and you're above it all
and you can see the trees.
It's just like,
"Man, this is awesome."
You know? Like...
And then you gotta go
back to work.
You're like,
"Well, that moment's over."
You know?
I have a picture of myself
with my older sister,
and I'm-- I'm-- I think
I'm in a stroller or something,
and then she's behind me,
and I'm--
I'm too young to even speak,
but I'm up there like this
and you can just see it
in my eyes and I'm like,
Like, "Go fast. Go faster."
My cubicle--
coolest cubicle in the office.
It's where
all the magic happens.
The engineering magic.
A civil engineer works
in all aspects of civilization.
So, buildings,
uh, roads, bridges,
water resources.
I specialize in--
in the structural component.
My job isn't making sure
the antennas are working
so much as that the structure
can hold those antennas
for the antennas
to be able to do their job.
I like being outside.
I like to get dirty.
I like gettin' out there.
I like, you know,
gear, gadgets.
I like all that.
That kind of
stereotypical boy stuff.
I-- I downhill mountain bike.
I huck myself
off of a mountain
on a-- on a bicycle.
It's just somethin'
that clicks.
switches on in your head,
um, when you get
the adrenaline going
and when you get to see
something different.
You know that first drop
in a rollercoaster
how you just get very,
very exci-- excited?
Some people enjoy that
more than others.
Um, and this is just
that feeling on steroids.
... a little bit more snug when
I connect your harness to mine.
- Mm-hmm.
- Let's talk a little bit--
Jumping out of an airplane
is a-- is a rush.
I like to explain it
as my drug of choice.
It's a good--
good, uh, moment
to make you
feel alive and...
and just enjoy
the experience.
I don't know.
Just scares
the shit out of you, you know?
It's just a sheer moment
of, "Oh, my God," you know?
Like, "Oh, wow, this is--
what am I doing?"
That's over very quickly.
- How was it?
- Great.
- Fantastic job.
- Whoo!
That was sweet!
- Nice.
- Welcome back to the ground...
Yeah, you don't know me
that well yet.
You're looking on the outside.
I'm a big nerd.
I am a huge nerd.
What is the consistency
of a person?
Everyone's just unique,
you know?
And I-- I guess
mine just kind of collided
and everything really mixed
in a way that I could end up
in an industry that
facilitated all my interests.
So, I got really lucky.
You have an eye
for everything engineering.
I know what I'm looking
for in order to analyze that.
What's the bolt size?
What's a min edge
versus a gusset min edge?
What is gonna be the--
the failure mode
in this section
of the tower?
I like how things work
and I wanna know
and kind of get my-- my hands
on things a little bit.
It's fun. It really is.
It doesn't feel like
you're going to work.
It feels like you're out,
you know, having a good time
and obviously there's work
but when you're up there with,
you know, certain views
or different parts
of the country
or even the world sometimes,
you know,
you're getting up there
and being able to see
a lot of
what people don't.
It's hard work.
You're out for long days
when you're travelling.
You're up,
you know, pretty early.
And you can stay
in the field pretty late
to get your stuff done.
You know, people
that are out there doing it
week in, week out--
I'm in-- you know,
I'm in the office
for the most part now,
but, you know, being out
in the field constantly is--
is very taxing.
This is not your n-- normal,
every day,
nine to five,
monotonous routine.
Over and over
and over and over.
I travel a lot.
320 days of the year
I'm on the road travelling.
So, uh,
it's all the time.
Our sweet spot is,
like, five to six weeks.
Is-- and--
and we'll come back for a week.
when you're out for six weeks,
you might wanna go home,
but I'd rather be
getting tired of this,
than tired of an office,
you know?
Looking at a cubicle
or something like that.
Not only you go everywhere,
but you're kind of everywhere
at a moment's notice.
You know, you'll come back
to the office on a Friday
if you're a climber,
and then Monday morning
you're-- you're back out
to maybe northern California
or something like that.
I've been everywhere
from Oregon to Washington D.C.,
New York, Pennsylvania.
I never would've thought
in a million years
I'd be at the White House.
I think the only place
that I haven't been is Alaska,
and I was supposed to,
but I kind of curbed that job.
If you're new, you're like,
"Oh, yeah, Alaska. Let's go."
But as you become a veteran
you start thinking
about time of the year,
and where it's at,
and it was on Dutch Harbor.
So, I looked it up,
and it was that little
island side of Alaska.
And that's where,
like, the crab fishermen,
like, the-- that show is.
And I was like,
"October, that seems like
it would be kind of
cold and nasty."
I was like,
"Yeah, nah, I'm cool.
You don't have--
just let someone else have it."
You know?
We call ourselves brothers
in-- in our office and,
you know, with our managers.
You know, they could be
our sisters as well,
but that's exactly
how we see each other,
as brothers and sisters.
... they'll lean back into it
and you can put
a little kink on it.
You spend more time
with them than anybody,
so, if you don't take
them on as family and, uh,
you know, get through
those ups and downs and...
we're not gonna
actually allow a dispute,
uh, hold us back from growing
and moving forward.
Here we go,
we got it floating.
Coming up nice and easy.
We gotta pull it out
of the inner from underneath
and get it up 20 inches.
Nice and easy.
Copy. Here we go...
We're like a family,
you know?
A dysfunctional family,
you know?
Because you got all different
types of, um, personalities.
We all know
when we get on site
and it's just time to--
we all--
we all just
fall in line and-- and--
and compliment each other
and work and--
it's just about
getting things done.
People leading
when they need to lead
and people falling in line
when they need to fall in line.
Hold that.
Get your inner out.
Get it out.
Just, uh,
it's a family out here.
You spend so long out here
with the same group,
you know,
same guys, constantly.
Uh, we literally,
most of the time, eat--
you know, eat sleep and work
together all the time, so--
I'm not eatin'
that turkey burger, though.
So, I mean, we argue,
you know, like we do--
like we do at home,
I mean...
we bitch, complain,
we do all this other stuff
or whatever.
Oh, yeah,
it gets frustrating.
I mean,
when people aren't listening
or they want to
do stuff their way
and I want it done my way
and we're not compromising.
"Just try it.
Just do it."
And the frustration
is there all day long,
but once we get back
to the hotel room,
"What's for dinner?"
I put some
of that in there.
And then I'll put all that
in here.
Just about every day,
you know,
if you guys wanna go
play some pool or darts,
that's something
that we do quite often.
Um, I've--
I've been to laser tag.
I keep
a football in my truck,
so if anyone wants to come out
and throw the ball around
a little bit,
we do that, and...
sometimes we're in these
really small towns.
So there--
there's really not a lot to do.
Uh, you know,
it-- it may just come down
to just kind of hanging out
and maybe having a couple
beers, uh, with each other.
Being away from home...
kind of staying in a hotel,
it gets rough after a while.
you know, you just-- you have
to make the best of it.
I go
straight back to the hotel,
go to the gym,
and if it's eight o'clock,
um, work out
for about an hour.
Most of the other crews
at our company, too,
they kind of just
all hang out and converse.
You just-- you know,
just hanging out, you know?
Like a bunch of roommates
together somewhere
just hanging outside,
uh, um, the hotel.
Me, I-- I'm-- me and my crew,
we're very tight, too, but,
I mean, I just spent like 12,
13 hours with them, you know?
And now I need to get
a little bit of me time, so...
I've seen a lot of climbers
that have ink.
I mean, it's actually
almost everyone I know
has some type of a piece
on them somewhere climbing.
Something that I've always
liked and-- and followed
and then I finally was like,
you know what?
I'm gonna start collecting
some of these pieces, you know?
'Cause to me it's--
it's art pieces, you know?
But, of course,
they're on your body.
I love the art, man.
It's just insane.
It took six days,
a total of almost
60 hours of tattooing.
Thir-- three days
for the inner here,
and then three days
for the outer here.
And we did
three days in a row here
and three days
in a row here.
To me, it's just the art pieces
for me these days.
Like, I know a lot of people
get 'em and they all have,
like, real
sentimental meaning to 'em,
but for me, like, I look
for artists like Brandon.
He creates you
just an individual piece
for you, like, so...
Like, you know that
no one else has this artwork.
A lot of times it's when
he's really gettin' in,
especially on the rib,
it's like,
"Why'd I do this again?"
You know?
All I need
is my coffee, my tunes...
that's a good morning.
We're gonna have
some fun today.
Just like
me and Jared do every day.
And we're gonna
kick some tower ass.
It'll be a nice one today.
shouldn't be too bad.
You can't see a half-inch bolt
from the ground,
you know?
You can't measure
something 300 feet up
from-- from the ground.
We are good to go.
So, to be up--
be up there
and to be able
to get up there
and take those measurements
and those photos
and be able
to look at it with a keen eye,
a keen
engineering eye and...
you can't have that
from the ground.
Females may be
a little intimidated,
um, just because it is a
very male-dominated industry.
There are female climbers.
There's, um...
there's marketing,
there's project management,
there's, you know--
Every aspect
of the telecom industry
and the telecom engineering
industry has-- has females.
but it's--
it's definitely not a lot.
There's a lot of times
that I'll show up on site
and the guys will be like,
"Oh, you're--
you're-- you're
gonna go up there?"
"Yeah, y-- yeah,
I'm gonna go up there.
That's why I'm putting
this harness on, um...
I manage
a group of ten guys.
They're all very respectful.
I think people have been
incredibly professional.
Everyone minds their manners,
pretty much.
I curse like a sailor.
I'm-- I'm being a really--
I'm minding
my manners here.
It's not anything
to do with-- that, you know,
I'm-- I'm a female
and-- and you're not.
Like, you have a personality,
I have a personality.
You're a-- you wanna call
yourself the tower cowboy,
like you've been saying,
or, um...
there's all kinds, you know?
I think
what we have in common
is-- is the tower
and we-- we all climb.
I could hang out
up here all day.
There's people
from different parts
of-- of everywhere that come.
You know, there's-- you know,
people come from all over.
Uh, different backgrounds.
People like different things,
so, being a crew lead,
you're constantly
having new guys come in.
All right, bud,
go ahead and check port two.
You know, you have to
switch things up a little bit,
you know, to accommodate for,
you know, uh, these new guys,
so, that comes to music and,
you know, things like that.
So, I-- I listen to all
types of music these days.
I-- You know, any--
any genre, I've--
there's somethin'.
There's a couple songs on
my playlist for it, you know?
You'll hear us,
we'll be 300 feet in the air
just singing
at the top of our lungs.
And I'm sure
the neighbors and people around
don't like it too much,
but, you know--
I-- 'cause I don't sound good,
that's for sure.
I work a lot.
And-- and it's very demanding.
It's long hours.
It's-- it's a lot of work.
We could work
through the weekend
and we can go
two to three weeks straight.
The longest I've ever gone
is 42 days straight.
I took one day off and I did
another 26 straight after that.
Our industry is so--
it's so intense.
And you gotta
get it done.
And-- and we gotta do it,
and we-- not only do we have to
do it good,
we have to do it fast.
Tower to ground,
tower to ground.
Go ahead, tower.
All right,
Joe and I are up here, we got..
Well, if you work hard,
you gotta play hard.
You have to have
that release.
You have to--
have to have something
that your brain
can decompress
and you can just
forget about that
and you can--
you can go enjoy yourself.
Some people mountain bike,
some people,
you know, play golf.
Me, I like to grab my board,
wax it up,
paddle out
and catch some waves.
Get the sand
in between my toes.
Get that salt water
all over me.
And, uh-- and get the thrill
of-- of catching some waves.
It's what it's all about.
So, if I go to the beach
early in the morning
and I have my time,
then I can spend,
you know,
only a couple hours there
doing it for me,
but then I can come home
and I can be here
for my family.
And know
that it's not just work
and a little bit of play
for me,
but it's-- it's them,
it's-- it's what I do it for.
Those are my why.
That's why I work hard.
That's why I do what I do.
That's why I don't quit.
I don't give up.
I do it for them.
So, I wanna show them
what life is all about.
Let's have fun.
One, two, three!
There you go.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
You know,
being out on the road...
you know, gets hard,
because I don't spend
as much time with them.
We'll get some water
in just a little bit.
Especially now with
this-- the times that we're in,
you know, having to
put them through school,
plus she works
and, you know,
we rely on our 13-year-old
to watch the other two.
And you try to--
it's-- it's rough.
You know,
it's rough on her,
and I'm sure
it'd be a lot easier
if I had a job to-- where
I'm home all the time, but...
you know, it's just--
it's the job I love.
I mean,
it's-- it's what
brought us where we are,
you know?
Thank God for technology.
Uh, so we both have,
you know, our watches,
and they have
their walkie-talkie on there.
And, uh, I'll hear
a walkie-talkie go off,
so I'm up there
cranking the tuner.
I don't realize
time's flew by so much.
And, uh, my wife is just like,
"Hey, honey, I love you!
you're thinking about me!"
I was like-- and I'm just
sitting there, like,
Where did that come from?"
Quite nice.
For the common person,
I think
it would be really hard.
But we're not like
your average couple.
We talk once at night.
You know,
we FaceTime every night.
And then my son,
I'm always FaceTiming him.
But it's not--
to me, it's--
I kind of find a balance.
When I come back
I do nothing but-- like,
I take a week off instead
of just a day or so.
And, uh,
I spend it with them
and, like, we'll go
somewhere or something.
It's hard to be away.
Um, especially on jobs where
I'm out three months at a time.
You know,
a month and a half,
go out,
come home for a weekend,
go back
for another month and a half.
It gets tiring.
It gets lonely.
I worry about, you know,
stuff that's going on.
You know, different situations
that we have at home.
You know,
kids or whatever.
She's there by herself,
you know?
She's, like,
a single mom...
you know,
when I'm not there.
And it is hard on her.
I know it is, so...
You know, I try
to help out the best I can,
but it's, you know,
really not much
because they don't listen
to me when I'm not there.
It's a different story
when I am there.
Love you.
you know, it's-- it's--
it's just one
of those things, like...
you know, she, uh--
I got--
before she moved in with me,
I told her--
"Before you move in with me,
you knew
what you were getting into."
500 feet over Boca Raton,
I became
a foreman at this company.
I was there four years
and had 140 employees.
I'm running crews,
I'm doing the testing,
sweeping, pimming,
fiber testing,
I'm doing the close outs,
I'm doing the scope of work,
I'm doing the material lists,
I'm doing the hours for all
the crew guys that I have.
The-- a light bulb went off.
I was like, "This."
- What's the address?
- 19301.
I got with a buddy of mine
who is also a foreman there
and I said,
"Hey, you've got some money?"
And he said, "Yeah."
I said, "I've got some money.
Let's-- let's team up and put
all of our money together
and let's--
do you want to start this?"
And he said, "Absolutely."
We started with, uh,
one truck, one trailer
and an 800-square-foot garage.
You know,
we wanted to expand, so...
we invested and--
and we got a-- uh, a lease,
with a 3,200-square-foot
office space.
Got everything we needed,
really doubled down,
and-- and it was awesome.
Built this company up
from nothing to 12 employees,
four trucks, four trailers,
working for multiple
general contractors,
two different carriers,
and just had more work
than I knew what to do with.
And two at a time
you guys are gonna go up,
and you guys are gonna practice
rappelling down.
I'll show you
how to hook up the Petzl right.
Uh, we'll show you
how to hook it up
once you're up
on the tower,
you get it up,
these guys will--
Chris and Ricardo
are gonna be the top.
I want one of you,
just one of you,
to get a block--
I mean a shackle,
and a strap
on each one--
end of these ropes.
You know,
I got married at a young age.
so, I mean,
I started messing around and...
you know,
it was on me.
I didn't realize it
at the time, you know?
But looking back now,
I mean,
that's pretty much
where things started.
You know, I-- I can't blame
anybody for...
the decisions I've made,
you know?
You know, I was working.
Had a good job.
You know, she wasn't around,
my dad was there
watching the kids.
I would go out at night.
Go to the bars, um,
started doing cocaine.
And I discovered
crack cocaine.
So then it went
from crack, to meth,
and back and forth.
You know,
looking back at that time,
and yeah,
I was a crackhead.
Yeah, I was a tweaker.
Tweaker world,
being a meth addict, um,
doing what you have to do
to get high,
to get the drugs...
you know, just moving
from place to place,
not staying.
What's-- waking up every day
and now wondering
who's gonna burn you
or who you're gonna burn.
It was a very lonely time
in my life.
I mean, I was literally
living in stolen cars.
Had a storage shed
that I was living in.
You know, I'd-- would park
my car in the storage shed.
And that's where
I would live.
in and out all night long,
I mean, that's just--
that was my life.
Nobody knew
where I was, um,
I kind of shut myself off
from everybody.
Uh, my kids
were disappointed in me,
so, I was like,
"Oh, can't reach out to them."
You know,
I disappointed my mom.
At the time, I mean,
I was 150 pounds.
I mean,
I'm 200 now, so, I mean,
you can imagine me
50 pounds lighter.
it wasn't a pretty sight.
The doctor told me
that, uh,
the way
my health was deteriorating,
you know,
they actually told me that...
if I don't get straight
that I don't have very much
longer to live, you know?
They said I had probably,
like, six months.
I think it was just--
when it's gonna happen,
it's gonna happen.
You know, whatever,
I mean, it's--
a lot of people
will be happy once I'm gone.
And a lot less pain.
You know,
I was helping everybody else
by-- by me being gone,
you know?
As an addict,
we're in our minds.
And without getting that,
uh, that way out,
the-- the disease is just
gonna keep coming after you,
keep coming after you,
keep coming after you.
But, I mean, I got--
I got jail time,
slap on the wrist.
Jail time,
slap on the wrist.
You know, I got, uh--
I had nine felony convictions
before I got
sent to prison.
You look at prison and you--
you realize everything that
you take for granted in life.
It's all about just
sticking to yourself.
And, uh,
time goes by really slow
when you're in there.
I don't remember the year.
It was probably 2012 or 13.
At that point in time,
I had just graduated
out of Sac State,
and went back home to Samoa,
helped rebuild,
feeling really good and great,
come back,
jumped into nursing school.
And then,
at the same time,
uh, one of my uncles
ended up passing away.
The stress of school,
and then
my uncle passing away,
it was definitely
too many moments of--
there wasn't just enough light
coming in for me
at the moment in time.
I was just heading
down the freeway, and...
as I continued to drive,
my-- my tunnel vision
just continued to close up,
close up.
And everything just kept
overlapping on top of me.
And I just never felt
how heavy
one's shoulders can be.
And, uh...
I just screamed out to God
and was just like,
"I thought you said
you were gonna be here."
I took my '93 Honda
and, uh,
slammed on that gas
and just drove it
as fast as I could.
And I just found
myself saying,
"All right, I'm done.
I give up."
I just grabbed
on the wheel,
downshifted into fourth.
Before I knew it,
I turned that steering wheel
to hit the median.
Screaming at God
at the same time.
Instead of hitting the median,
I just had four flat tires
to meet at the median.
I just had my mirror go....
Just close up.
And that's all I heard was--.
And I was like, "Wha-- what?"
And I just sat there,
like, "What?"
From that moment,
oh, man,
I had never seen the light
so much bigger and brighter.
'Cause you see so many things
flash in front of your eyes
when you're trying
to go out of darkness,
but when you're given
that second chance of life...
My life story is written.
And even if I try to do
something stupid in it,
it's already written
that that's not gonna be--
that's not gonna be my ending,
He has it.
So, if I think of an ending,
that's not my ending.
My God has something better.
I'm gonna eat you.
I'm gonna eat you.
Uh, my dad was,
you know, my hero.
He was, uh-- he got sick.
He got, uh-- ended up getting
cancer at a very young age.
He was 43.
Went in to the hospital,
and it was around
December he was there.
And we always thought
he was gonna come back out.
And, uh, he ended up getting
an infection in his right leg.
And on December 29th, 1987,
he passed away.
So, it was
four days after Christmas.
I was 11 years old, so...
The person
who was supposed to teach me
how to be a man,
how to change a car tire,
how to change
the oil in my car,
how to be a man,
you know, it was gone.
My father passed,
he was 44 years old.
I always had growing up--
Ever since 11,
I had that number: 44.
He lived to 44.
And that was a number
that I-- I-- I disliked.
But then, now,
as I grew up, I was like,
"Wow, 44,
that's really young."
And, uh, I just turned 44
three weeks ago.
And, uh, I think about it.
I think about, what if--
what if I left my family now?
What about if my boys
grew up without me?
What about if my wife
became a-- a single mother now?
Now to run the house
and everything like that.
We did a tower up in,
uh-- up in North Florida.
266 feet up, no--
no safety climb.
And I thought my kid's voice,
"Dad, clip in,
clip out, come home."
And-- and I took my time
climbing up, climbing down,
clipping in, clipping out.
Thinking of my kids.
That I don't want my kids
to grow up like me,
without a dad.
I want to be there
for 'em, you know?
I want to be their hero.
I want to be the person
they look up to and say,
"That's my dad."
If it weren't even
a little bit hazardous,
you know, there--
there wouldn't be
anything fun about it.
At any point in time
you can get comfortable
with climbing these ladders,
and you can go from
being three points
of contact to two real quick,
and once you're at
two points of contact,
safety OSHA-wise,
you're free climbing.
We always tell each other,
"All right, don't ever get
comfortable thinking,
'Well, Ky's here,
he's got it.'"
Like, I need you guys
to check me just as well as
I'm checking you,
'cause we're all humans.
Like, I mean,
I can let something slip
just as easy as you can
let something slip.
- You got this one?
- Yeah.
All right.
Someone else
can get you killed
very easily in this,
um-- in this field.
So, you have to be together,
you know?
Like, everyone
has to be on point.
We're gonna take
that base back out,
or pull it back out
towards you, Clarence.
Are you trying to get it
all the way around?
So, what I tell
my guys is, you know,
I always stay
a little bit afraid.
You know, you gotta keep that
in the back of your mind.
If you get too-- too
comfortable, and then that's--
you know, sometimes that's
when you start making mistakes.
You know, you don't--
you really don't pay attention
to where you're stepping or--
or to where you're tying
yourself off to.
It's already down.
It's on the--
pretty much where I'm at.
I've heard
of guys installing,
you know, a new diagonal
on a tower, for instance,
and, uh, they forgot
to put the bolt in
before they clipped off
the diagonal
and slid right off.
You gotta pay attention.
You gotta be aware
100% of the time.
That's, I mean--
It's-- it's-- it's part of it.
You have to-- like,
I actually just lost a--
a really good friend of mine,
um, October 20th.
He just actually
passed away on a tower.
It's definitely an...
a reality.
And-- and that one kind of
hit home with all of us.
It's like, man, you always
hear about it happening
and, you know, you're always
safe, but it's, like...
That was kind of, like--
I mean, I didn't go to sleep
'til, like, three o'clock
that morning
'cause you're just
thinking about,
"Man, like...
what was he doing?"
Or, you know, you're just
playing out the whole thing.
"Well, if this happened,
it had to have been this,
or it had to have been that,"
you know?
I would go out on a limb
and say 99.9% of it
is always human error.
It's never really mechanical.
I mean, if you
don't do your inspections
and if you're not
keeping yourself
100% tied off
at all times, it-- Yeah.
One-- one slip,
one trip, there you go.
That's it.
That's all she wrote.
Whenever you hold
on to a peg and let a peg go,
is, uh, going through
your mind, like,
"Do you have your hand
on the other one?"
And as I'm doing that,
I'm looking at
my fellow guys up there and,
like, are they doing the same?
It's important that, uh,
we all go up
and we all come down.
That trust that we have
for one another is beyond.
working in those heights.
Our biggest philosophy:
moving slow and steady.
It allows us to make sure
that you checked me,
I checked you.
And when we take flight,
ends up being
that one great shot,
and everyone gets
to come back down
and, like,
"Bro, it's a good day."
He talks about it
quite a bit.
The parts that
we kind of leave out
are the climbing part,
because I don't really love...
the dangers of that,
or the challenges of that part.
It's a little bit
scary for me.
I never
worry about Andrew.
Andrew's a very safe guy.
He-- And I know that
just from being married to him
and having kids with him,
that he's a safe guy.
The-- It's just like, you know,
when you get in a car,
y-- you can't control
the elements around you,
the things around you.
There's only been
a handful of times
where I've been concerned.
I think it goes
back to our faith.
It goes back to the fact
that I trust
that God is keeping him
He's leaving this house,
and I pray
that he comes home safely.
I can't get caught up
in the what-ifs or the-- the--
it just sends me
down a rabbit hole.
I have faith that
God will bring him home safely,
and that I'll get
to kiss him goodnight.
So, I was with Omar
on this job and he's like,
"Hey, um, the top stick
has step pegs that are missing.
We need to put some in."
So, I climb
all the way to the top,
and then it has this big,
um, section
that's, like, I don't know...
It was pretty tall,
like, 80 feet.
And then it had the big
top stick going out.
So, I get there
and I change some out
on the
where it needs it,
and then I keep going up
to the-- the top stick,
and I look up there and, man,
this thing's just snaking like
one of them foam pool noodles,
and I'm like...
"Man, this is crazy, dude."
So, I radio Omar
and I'm like,
"Hey, man, um, they're not
working, they're not fitting."
And he's like,
"All right, we'll just
get new ones and come up."
And we get down to the ground
and he's like, "Wait a minute,
they should just
screw in to the top stick."
And I was like, "Man,
I'mma be real honest with you,
I was shook." You know?
I didn't feel like
going up there at that time,
and he started
laughing, like...
There's cell phone
towers that don't have
what's called a safety climb,
a wire that goes
from the top to the bottom
that you have
a safety climb that hooks into,
that if you were to fall,
you only fall six inches.
And a lot of times,
you know,
if it doesn't have that--
if it doesn't have that wire,
you need to clip
and out all the way up.
And back in the day
when it was a little more
lenient and everything,
people would just free climb
as-- as high as they could
and then they'd,
you know,
start to clip in and out.
There were tower climbers
that wouldn't climb
a certain amount or get out
on a certain boom
because it was, you know,
sketchy, or they would say,
"I need a crane."
And they would call me in.
"Hey, Sean." You know?
Always looking for that thrill.
"Can you do this?"
And buddy,
absolutely I can do that.
And I would do it.
And then I would pull back
into the shop and the,
you know,
other crews would be like,
"Did you do it?"
I'd be like, I got it done.
It's done, you know?
Invoice it.
I know who I was
as a person back then.
Right? I was that guy.
I was that person
that wasn't tying off,
that was free-climbing,
you know, everywhere,
but nobody
was telling me nothing,
so I didn't know any better.
I'd say my fear now...
having to deal with people
that don't tie off.
I try to be that person
that tells you something.
You know, whether
you have 20 years' experience,
three years' experience,
or you have a month experience.
... at all times.
We're gonna have RF
suits and RF monitors.
You know, I have had
a couple guys come in
and they were
nervous to go up.
You know, there's one guy
in particular, he was...
he was up at, like, 100 feet
and he kind of slipped.
You know, and it kind of
caught him and he's like...
... like, throwing up,
and he's like--
he got those nerves,
his-- that anxiety,
and he's like...
It was just, like--
really got to him.
This is-- I've had guys
that wanted to work
in this industry,
and as soon as they
got 20 feet up, they froze,
because looking at it from
the ground up they thought,
"Oh, I could do that."
Well, that's different.
Once you're up looking down,
that's when your knees
get weak, you get queasy.
You know, you look up,
your tower might be
swaying a little bit,
your clouds are moving,
you can get a little
disoriented, you know?
So, it's definitely
not for everybody,
but you're going-- you're gonna
find out real quick if it is.
Trusting your equipment
is one of the biggest issues
that people have.
You know,
'cause we're held up
by this nylon threading,
the straps.
Sit in it, be comfortable,
and trust your equipment.
Trust-- trust the engineers,
trust, you know, people
that the manufacturers trust,
all this stuff.
It's a lot of trust
in this industry, for sure.
But I mean, I gotta trust every
one of these guys with my life,
just like they
have to do with theirs.
You know, when your job every
day is this life-threatening,
and you need
the people to work together,
I mean, that's what--
what it's about.
In our trust for one another,
since it's a brotherhood,
it's taken
to a whole different level.
When I climb this tower,
it's not, "I climb this tower."
We're climbing this tower.
And, uh, constantly
checking each other.
And that takes a lot.
We all have
our cowboy side,
and when that
cowboy side comes in,
it's making a move
that could either
be done safe and unsafe.
Sometimes, the cowboy
in any of us would just be,
the cowboy's the muscle.
So, I'mma muscle
this up and move it,
but that can also be unsafe.
Let me know
when you guys are ready.
But then
if you communicate
with your person
that's up there with you,
if the both of you make
that same move together,
it can be done safe.
One, two, three, go.
Good job, guys.
Safety is paramount.
Safety all the time,
every time.
This is a job
that you go to in the morning
but only you are the one that
is gonna make yourself sure
that you're gonna
go home at night.
Only you can climb
a tower and hook off.
I know everyone's
family is at home,
you know, worried sick.
I know my family is.
They don't like,
you know, to see me
when I post pictures and things
along those lines.
Um, but I do assure them
that I'm-- I am being safe.
What industry is safe?
You have police officers,
fire fighters.
I mean,
their industry's not safe.
I mean, it is our job
to keep ourselves safe.
A lot of, uh, mistakes,
are because of error.
Not tying off
or, um, a malfunction
of equipment because
it wasn't used properly.
When you're in a--
a "dangerous" industry--
and I-- I do this because
I'm not underestimating
the-- the hazard
that goes along with the job.
But people
that do this job...
they know
that it's dangerous.
They rely on their training.
They rely on their gear.
So, knowing that...
you know, your gear is safe
before you get on the tower.
There's not one second
you don't have to be aware
when you're on the tower.
... getting up
and down on these towers,
as you know, is we're using
that safety line.
And look at this
great way of how to...
I was in pre-nursing,
still, and...
by the time
I finished pre-nursing,
I couldn't get
into a nursing program yet.
So, I'm sitting there with
the counsellor and she's like,
"Just so you know,
all your credits transfer here,
and then you can graduate."
I was like,
"What? To where?"
And they were like,
"To an OSHA program."
I was like,
"What is that?"
... it's also gonna be
able to withstand you
from being able to move
up and down on there.
So, the connection...
The more I heard
about it I was just, like,
this is actually
want I want to do.
I love the regulations,
I love the rules.
... the spacer on top
of the cable to...
This sounds amazing.
You know, you don't have to be
at a nurse's office,
doing what? Wiping who?
My title is two in one.
So, I'm a tower technician
and then a safety director.
So, that helps me be
one of the guys.
So, we're all tower
technician's first, and then,
uh, my safety director
side points in
and makes sure that
whatever we choose as a group,
we do choose
a safety direction.
In this tower industry,
they'll be like,
"Have you got on the tower yet?
Like, do we even get up there?"
That's not a question
that you ever have to ask me.
Transfer slowly off of this.
Yeah. It's like,
Yes, I am going on the tower.
I'll be up there with you
and spending those
six to eight hours
or even more,
however long it's taking.
I think that there's
great organizations like NATE.
There's OSHA.
There are
the right precautions
and procedures put in place
that keep Andrew safe.
They're always doing
more training and more testing
to make sure that
they are using the newest
and the latest technology
as well as the--
the safest standards
to keep them all safe
and bring them home
at the end of the day.
It's not a dangerous industry
if the safety factor
is in it.
I mean, yes,
it can be dangerous,
but so is
walking down the road.
Think it's safer
to climb a tower
than it is to walk down
the road.
At any point in time
I could trip on the sidewalk
and there's
nothing there to catch me
like my harness does.
I have never seen the video
of the two minutes
and 42 seconds.
I don't want to see
the video of it.
We were split up
in two crews.
My business partner had a crew
that was working up north,
I had a crew
that was working down south.
And it-- and I get a phone call
from my business partner.
I said,
"Hey, man, what's going on?
How're you doing?"
And he said,
"I wish I was doing better."
And he said, uh...
"One of our employees
just got busted
by Crown Castle,
uh, free-climbing."
I asked the guy,
I'm like,
"What... what made you think
what you just did
was acceptable?"
And he said, "It's my life.
If I die, I die.
And he picked up his tools.
Walked out the door.
In one day we got
fired from four contracts.
I mean, it spread like
wildfire, what happened.
And my phone
was just email after email.
"We are not working
with you anymore."
"We will not be
using you anymore."
And it was just--
it was crushing.
I couldn't eat,
I couldn't sleep.
I lost 21 pounds in 23 days.
I-- I-- I didn't know
what to do.
Everything that I built up
and put my whole life on,
my whole
family's finances on...
somebody else made
a choice and a decision,
and it took away
my livelihood.
He built up
his company for five years.
For him to almost feel like
he lost everything
through no fault of his...
... still alive.
And then-- and then he was...
Just having to be
there and support him...
and know, like, it's okay.
I never noticed 'em
before I started.
People kind
of walk into a Verizon store
or a T-Mobile store, um,
and they wanna know
what's the--
what's the greatest phone,
what phone fits my needs?
But the network
itself is-- is,
you know,
that's what drives it.
And the people
behind the networks.
If this industry
stopped existing at this time,
people would go crazy.
I mean,
the cell phones, internet,
I mean...
social media, like--
Ah, sh--
it'd be crazy.
It'd be, like, anarchy
in the streets or something,
I don't--
I don't even know.
I-- In the last six years,
the industry has grown
In the last year,
it's grown even more than that.
I-- In the years to come,
it's gonna even
double those numbers,
and then
even further than that.
Six years from now,
where are we gonna be?
200%? 300%?
Maybe 500%.
Right now, I-- I believe
there's anywhere
from 12,000,
maybe 14,000
tower climbers
that are supporting the, what,
330 million people
here in the United States?
And we're gonna need--
we need 20,000
tower climbers.
25,000 tower climbers.
And, uh--
and we need 'em now.
iPhones pretty much
started in 3G.
Then it progressed
to 4G back in, uh, 2012.
So, this is the next step.
Uh, 5G.
Fifth generation
technology coming out.
This is gonna amplify
your phone service.
This is gonna
make downloading,
emails, movies, video games,
social media influencers,
the speed and processing
is gonna be double.
Twice as fast.
And 5G,
it's on the rooftop.
It's on towers.
And even when you're
driving your car now,
now it's on the roads,
it's on the small cells.
It's at the intersections
that you don't even see.
You've all
heard the stories
that 5G will melt your brain,
will make birds
fall out of the sky,
will kill every tree
that you see around.
And-- and
it also created Coronavirus.
None of it's true.
If there was an issue,
if it created brain cancer,
if it created
any of this thing,
us as the tower climber
would be the first industry
that had these issues.
We'd be dropping off
like flies.
We wear RF monitors
on our belts,
and we have them
on the ground.
And any time
you're next to a live antenna,
in front of a live antenna,
that RF monitor is gonna go up
and start beeping
when you are
in a very dangerous zone.
As those
a-- antennas are up high...
and shoots out the RF,
it's gonna dissipate
the signal, you know?
Today we're on a rooftop.
And, uh, the antennas
aren't walk-up.
They're over
the side of the building.
Over the parapet.
All right, so, this is a--
uh, a brand-new mount,
brand-new antenna that, uh,
we just installed
for the carrier.
Uh, it is a 5G antenna.
Uh, as you can see,
the power, uh,
hooks up directly
to the antenna with the fiber.
So, you just hook up,
direct connect
the power fiber to it,
and it links up
and talks to the equipment
inside the antenna.
And, uh-- and this is--
this is where technology's
going to in our industry.
The carriers are putting in
trillions of dollars.
$1.5 trillion is going
into the infrastructure
just to make your life
easier when you need it.
I mean, the amount of work
that needs to get done
is-- it's-- there's years.
It's endless.
It's-- By the time
we get done with this,
6G is gonna come out.
As a young person,
right, trying to find a way,
I mean, giving
the tower industry a shot,
you know, it could take
you a long way.
I mean, I've worked
with a couple guys
that are in their 20s and,
you know, they're making
this money, they're doing this.
And you know they're not even
spending it wisely,
but they're being
in their young 20s.
You know, once they come
to realize, like, you know,
"If I start saving money,
I could have a house by 25,
I could do this,"
and all those things
are possible
if you do it the right way,
especially in this industry.
I think we're trying to build
the industry and change it.
Make it better.
To make it more of a career.
It's a great, great,
booming industry that has
unreal amounts of things
to offer for whoever
chooses to work in it.
With the colleges
that I'd talk to,
you know, they-- they
were giving me the highest, uh,
scholarships they could,
but it just wasn't enough.
You know, either way I still
would've been deep in debt,
and it just-- it wasn't
something that, you know...
I really wanted
to deal with, I suppose.
If you feel
that college is for you,
then you should
definitely try it out.
But it... my biggest thing is,
it's just not for everyone.
When it comes to,
uh, this industry,
being able to work hard
and continue learning,
um, you know, it's--
it's a great way
to move up and, you know,
you-- you can one day
make the money
that you-- you're looking to,
you know?
It's done.
I mean, I'm--
I can't even put my--
put it all in one category.
It's-- it's
opened up my life
to do all types of things,
you know?
I mean, it's-- it's a very
robust and rewarding industry
if you-- if you choose
to do it and you do it right.
I mean, like, I give
all the respect in the world--
I am where I am today
because of the industry, so...
What a beautiful
day out here now.
It's-- it gives you
travel experiences
everywhere for work,
but it also
gives you the pay.
the people you get to meet.
It's allowed me to live
the life I can live now,
and that's a life
of adventure.
You know,
when I first started
I was, like,
"Climbing towers, man,
I don't know if I wanna do
that forever," but...
now I can't really see
myself in a different industry.
I just know
I'd-- I'd miss it
if I did decide to leave.
You know, there's
just something about it.
You know,
it's that free feeling
of just being up there,
you know?
There's nothing
like it, so...
This is--
I think this is my thing, so...
I know this is my thing.
There we go.
People come up to us
and they say, "What is that?"
And I'm like,
"That's a cell phone tower."
And they're amazed.
"Oh, my God, who--
like, what carrier is that?"
And we'll tell them.
They'll be like,
"I have that carrier."
And I'm like,
"You must have great service."
And it's like, "I do."
It's like,
"Well, you're welcome.
You're welcome."
And then
sometimes they're like,
"I have horrible service.
What's the problem?"
And be-- "That's
the crew down the street."
I was facing nine years
for second-degree felony,
plus eight years
for an habitual offender.
So, a total of 17 years,
just in Bernalillo County.
Um, Sandoval County,
a total of 12 years.
So, 12 years in one county,
17 years in another county.
I get a plea deal
if I finish
a six-month
rehabilitation program.
Nine years,
they'll suspend it.
Put me on probation.
In the beginning,
it was just a way
out of prison for me, right?
I have to do this,
this is what's--
this is gonna
keep me out prison.
So, I'm fine.
You know, that's how
it was in the beginning.
You know, while I was there,
I started learning stuff.
Started learning
things about myself,
I started learning about,
you know, addiction.
About how the people
I was hurting,
that I wasn't
just hurting myself, and...
and, uh, I was there
for four months.
And, uh, I got kicked out.
It was kind of a--
a big blow, you know,
because I was actually
wanting to be there.
I got in
front of the judge and, uh...
I had a mentor with me.
I had a-- a counsellor with me.
You know, they already
spoke on my behalf.
And, um...
the judge called me up
and he's like,
"Well, you know,
Mr. Gallegos...
you know,
looking at your record,
I had every intention
of sending you
back to prison today."
He's like, "When most people
come in here and say
how much they need help,
how much they need to do this,
how much they need to do that,
and you've already
done all that.
I mean,
you've completed everything
that you need to do
and these guys have--
you know, think very
highly of you."
So, he actually
suspended all the time.
Well, I got clean in 2014.
I really started
doing drugs in 2005.
Without all that hardship,
without all that heartache,
without all the misery...
without all that,
I wouldn't be who I am today.
It takes time
for-- for me to heal myself.
It takes
time for other people to,
like-- they put a foot in,
and they put their
toes in the water,
and then they pull it
back out, and then...
you know, eventually, you know,
I-- I won 'em over, you know?
Bringing my--
my son and my daughter down.
It was at Christmas.
You know, they were--
you know, they were excited.
You know, my son was excited,
my daughter was excited,
and they wanted to see this-
this new person of who I am.
You know,
whatever they ask me,
I-- I tell them, nowadays.
You know, it's--
there's no more...
there's no more hiding,
you know?
Started the morning of Tuesday,
February 4th on cloud nine.
And by suppertime
I was in the gutter.
I had nothing.
I, uh, tried
to make some phone calls.
I got one person
to answer my call,
I had a meeting with them.
They've been
in this industry,
ran a company,
gave me sub work.
And, uh,
somebody I really valued,
really value as a mentor.
And, uh, he told me,
"Let me make some phone calls."
And he vouched for me.
And after a little while,
people were answering
my-- my call.
We're up and running.
South Coast Towers,
we are subcontracting again.
We're back
in a bigger garage,
but in the same place
that we kind of started out at.
And we're gonna do--
we're going back to basics.
We're keeping it small,
keeping it tight.
We're back working.
We're back, Crown-approved.
They're extremely
proud of everything
that we've done and everything
we've implemented.
And, uh, I've been
sight safety audited since.
Got great reviews.
I'm good.
We're gonna come
out of this better.
We're gonna take this
as a learning experience.
I'm back in
with almost every G.C.
that we had before,
except for one.
And hoping that one day
we can mend that relationship
and-- and show that,
"Hey, we are the guys.
Because you knew when--
when we went out to a job site
that you didn't have to worry.
That we were gonna
take care of it
the way you want it
taken care of."
I started
thinking back, you know,
when I was climbing.
You know,
I really enjoy doing that
and, you know,
made good money and...
you know, it's a different--
it's different experience.
Uh, we'll show you
how to hook it up
once you're up on the tower,
you get it up,
keep your hand on the rope...
Walk into
Advanced Tower Services.
And I went in there,
I talked to her,
I was like,
"Look... you know,
I was just wondering
if you guys are hiring.
You know, I would
really like my job back.
Um, you know,
I really enjoyed it."
She called me on a Wednesday
and said, "Come in."
She said, "Well, we're
gonna hire you temporarily.
You know,
through Thanksgiving.
You know,
'cause we need the help."
I said, "I just want
the chance to show you
that I am a better person.
That I am doing better
in my life and,
you know, I can be an asset.
And then,
you lay me off, you know,
I've proven to you that...
you know, I can be helpful
and you bring me back."
Well, that was October, 2016.
Um, I'm still waiting
for Thanksgiving to come.
You know,
they haven't laid me off.
It's a great feeling.
I mean, it's one of those
things, like,
you know, people...
are actually trusting me
with other people's lives.
Like, you know, I didn't even
trust myself with my life.
How are these people gonna have
so much faith in me to trust--
you know, put their company,
their workers, in my hands?
You know,
being a tower climber,
it's a great
part of my life.
I'm not in an office,
in a cubicle,
behind a computer screen.
There's no way
I could do that.
But I'm enjoying my office,
you know, on the field,
wherever it may take me.
Okay, I love you.
I'll let you get back
to making dinner.
My time
in my hotel rooms now
is watching lots of TV shows.
It's-- it's-- like,
that's what keeps me busy.
I mean, episode after ep--
I binge watch at night.
It's funny because
I told my probation officer,
I was like,
"I have a new addiction."
She looked at me.
I was like,
"Binge watching Netflix.
It's just-- you got any shows?
I need 'em."
You know,
I'm just telling--
I need shows,
I need more binging!
Do I ever look at my
darkest day and say, "Wow?"
I'm looking at the ocean,
I see the darkest day,
but I see it crash and be
lit up in such a great way.
You can forgive
and forget your past,
but you also can forgive
it and learn from it.
I'm not gonna stay
right here.
I'm just gonna
keep on going.
And that's the important
part in life, is how you fall,
but how do you push
through the darkness
to go back into the light?
And that's my greatest moment,
is my darkest moment.
Meditation is grounding.
Prayer, at the same time,
just being blessed
in the moment.
I just wanna
thank you that...
it's not my words,
but it's yours.
I'm living the life
'cause my ancestors
paved so much of the way.
...every single moment,
Lord God.
I'm living the life
because God woke me up,
and I'm living this
life because the universe,
that actually says,
"Your light is needed." help them see you.
In your name I pray,
Jesus Christ, amen.
Every single time
I wake up in the morning,
I open my eyes and say,
"Oh, you messed up.
you gave me another day."
And at the same time
I'm saying, "Thank you,"
because now I look to my wife,
I look to my kids,
and I'm like,
"Thank you for every single...
... one of them."
That right there
allows me to find wholeness
of saying that, um...
... "You gave me another day
so I can be happy
to give this greatness
to someone
who's missing it in life."
And, uh, I'mma do it.
It's brought me
up in life,
and I believe when you--
when you hit
that certain level
that you should always,
like, reach down
and-- and pick someone else up.
I believe it's got me
to a level in life
where I'm-- I'm-- I'm stable
and I'm good where I'm at.
So, now it's time
to start giving back.
And without the--
um, the tower industry,
I don't see myself
being there.
You know,
I-- I still don't know
where I'm gonna end up.
You know, I-- I'd like
to stay within the industry
and continue
to work my way up.
You know,
I love what I do.
I suppose I can say that
I-- I definitely found the job.
I chose
to take this path and...
you know,
and it was a great choice.
You know,
without that
second chance from them,
you know, being able
to make the money I make,
being able
to do what I do,
be able to buy a house,
to be able to--
I mean, the-- the material
things are-- are really minute.
But it's also
an accomplishment in my life.
I never had them when I was
living in storage sheds
and stolen vehicles.
I mean,
I didn't have nothing.
I appreciate everything
they've done and believing
in the person
that I've become.
You know, not looking back at
that-- that person that I was.
And, uh,
judging me for that,
but giving me
the chance to prove myself.
I mean,
there's hard parts. Right?
There's-- there's parts that...
you-- you don't know
if you can get around.
That you don't know
if, you know,
you're gonna make it around
to the top of the tower or not.
Um, but you keep pushing.
And you-- you end up
to the top of the tower
and you reach your goal.
You're on cruise modes
most of the time.
You know, y-- you're
kind of on the tower and...
and looking around,
and just doing what you do.
But you gotta take
a moment or two...
to look around
and enjoy the view.
Think about
what the cell phone has done
in the last 20 years.
What's the cell phone
gonna do in the next 20?
- Hi, Dad.
- Hey, buddy, how you doing?
What my job has done
in the last 20 years...
I'm on a tower.
I'm just thinking of you.
Where's my line of work?
How far is it gonna take me?
How much is it gonna
advance in the next 20 years?
I'm excited to see.
I can't wait.
We're gonna find out.
My life
was very low for a long time.
Making that climb...
was a hard climb.
It's probably
one of the hardest climbs
that I've ever done.
I wasn't tying off
in the beginning.
I was free-climbing life,
until I hit recovery.
And once, uh--
once in recovery,
you know, you learn to be safe,
you learn to tie off,
you learn to do
what you gotta do.
I guess, once you start
thinking you can reach the top,
that's where
you're gonna stop.
So, I mean, I haven't-- I
haven't reached the top at all.
I mean, my climb
is still-- still going up.
I'm doing the right job.
And, uh,
I'm doing my purpose.
And it feels good.
I'm literally
connecting the entire world
with the care...
and the greatness that I--
I take into doing my job.
And if we don't have
these towers up,
there's no signal,
there's no connection
with each other.
What I get to do
is definitely beyond.
I'm performing
my job for the world.