On a side street in Ft. Myers, Tom appeared to be on break from work, so I checked out the adjacent possible places of employment. Ah, he was right next to a tattoo parlor, Downtown Ink. Yeesss! And he did have a few tattoos. But when I introduced myself and the project, he looked sheepish and said, “No, not me.”
I was amazed. So without pausing, I showed him the cell phone with my faces, and his face lit up. “Oh cool! Where do you want me to stand?” A quick turnaround indeed. He grinned and laughed when I told him that tattoo parlors are good hunting grounds for the 100 Strangers project. It was a big day for Tom, he had just gotten his tattoo apprentice certificate. This lead to the second shot. The third is of is his forearm, with the lovely giant squid attacking a ship. I hope Tom likes that when he's 60. This is a side job for Tom, mostly because he likes art in general, and tattoos specifically.
But in his other life, Tom is a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University. His major is computer science. Already, he has an internship lined up at Florida International University, in Miami. Not the exact stereotype tattoo artist! After the shaky start, Tom was very outgoing and clearly enjoyed the encounter.