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Bringing box carts back to life

Published: 
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Former convict on a mission
Danny Thomas works on one of his box carts which he plans to sell at Diamond Village, San Fernando, yesterday. PICTURE KRISTIAN DE SILVA

Danny Thomas spent his boyhood days filling water on wooden box carts and performing stunts in them with his friends but without the proper guidance, he was soon lured into a life of crime which eventually led to his imprisonment.

Now 12 years after leaving prison, Thomas, now 44, has returned to his childhood past time but instead of riding the box carts, he is now designing, building and selling them to young people.

Using used wheel bearings and discarded pieces of wood, Thomas fashions the box carts in a matter of minutes. He uses paint donated to him to create abstract designs and sells the carts for $200 to $300 depending on the size.

Thomas stacks the carts at the corner of Priam Street, Diamond Village, where many people gather to socialise on afternoons.

Having faced a difficult life in prison for possession of drugs, possession of arms and ammunition, kidnapping and larceny, Thomas said he now uses his time to help others understand the dangers of crime.

“My motivation is to bring the youths back to the old time days. Nowadays, its Facebook and tablet. People don’t want to enjoy the outdoors. They want to stay inside and play games. I met a woman from Penal who told me that my box carts brought back the old time memories to her. She grew up pulling cane and filling water. She bought two box carts from me and she gave it to her pupils. She motivated me to sell more carts,” Thomas said. 

He complained that Diamond Village had been overcome with drugs and he thinks his option to offer young people a childhood adventure may set children on the right path.

“I did not have a good father and I went astray but I brought back my life in order. I grew up selling drugs, robbing people. I do all kinds of things in my life. That is not a life to live because when you selling the drugs and end up in jail, other people outside living up a nice life and you stuck in there,” Thomas said.

He said he now earns $700 a week selling box carts. So inspired are his neighbours by his transformation that they offer the materials for him to work free of charge.

Thomas said gets the wheel bearings from a nearby garage. For most of the day, he could be seen hammering the carts into shape.

“I not charging them plenty. It have certain people begging me to do this. I getting paint and certain things to bring back these things. It is rewarding work,” Thomas said.

He added that his girlfriend has been his motivation as well. Anyone interested in Thomas’ box carts can call contact him at 353-4299.

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