If you’ve been at Northside Tavern on 1058 Howell Mill Road for a cold beer in the early afternoon hours, you have probably seen Bobby Head, definitely wondered about him, and maybe even spoken to him. If you haven’t, then let me sum him up for you – Bobby Head is the happiest guy you don’t know.
Bobby Head rides his bike every day and picks up empty aluminum cans. He picks up all down Howell Mill Road, with Northside Tavern being his most lucrative place given how many PBRs its patrons consume. He picks them up every month and takes them to be recycled. When asked about his job, Bobby replies, “I can [ride] as long as the weather ain’t bad. That’s the way I make my living. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t make a living. I keep the environment clean. I keep it from going to waste.”
It isn’t what Bobby Head does that makes him the happiest guy you don’t know, it is his overall attitude about life that makes him a person you really must sit down and get to know better. He has been picking up cans for 33 years and three months. He only rides in the daytime because Howell Mill’s traffic is too dangerous at night. His family members try to get him to take other jobs, but he stresses that this is the way he makes his living. He declines their help with placing him with a more “stable” position.
Bobby expresses a passion of those that grew up on hard times and found unconventional ways to pay the bills. And the best part is that he enjoys every aspect of his ventures and does it all with a smile on his face – a feature that is often omitted from the daily doings of making a living. It is obvious by his receptive demeanor and his willingness to engage with people that this man is genuinely happy.