FORT PIERCE FOLKS
“and I was working at Liberty Tax. I put her on the top of the
car and I was jumping on the hood of the car with my sign.
I looked back and she was gone. I got down and looked. She
had slid down the car and fallen on the ground, where she
was doing a handstand. So, I named her after a gymnast at
the time, Natasha. They have all been Natasha since then.
“When I build a new one, it is going to be the seventh
one. In December, I turned 70 and my birth certificate says I
weighed 7 pounds, so I will debut her on the Fourth of July,
which is the seventh month.”
Hours of waving out in the hot sun have left Laigo with a
deep tan. Pulling down a sock, he points out the difference in
his skin tone.
“I want to live to be 100,” he says, “so I can ride my unicycle
on the side of the highway and wave to everyone, holding
a sign that says: Today is my birthday and I am 100.”
wife, two cats and a dog.
Laigo has had as many as 15 part-time jobs per week since
his retirement in 2014, but the number is down to nine. He
does wave work for multiple businesses along U.S. 1 and
other parts of the city. He will take the sign from those businesses
not on U.S. 1 and ride his bicycle out to the highway
for the best advertising.
Laigo says the Florida weather doesn’t faze him as he “grew
up playing in the rain in Washington.” Years ago, he had a
five-hour segment scheduled for The Ramp Raw Bar but it
was pouring down rain. He went to work anyway. Then, a
black Cadillac rolled up, the window opened and a hand appeared,
holding a $20 bill. A man said, “You deserve this.”
People who recognize him from his work often speak to
him and sometimes give him things. In line at Publix, another
customer who recognizes him might pay for his groceries.
The youngest of four, Laigo says he was always active as
a child, taking lessons in kung fu, karate and classical guitar.
His siblings would beat up on him or blame things on him.
It was always, “Tommy did it!” he says, adding that the
whooping would follow.
He was known at school for his gymnastic abilities and all
of that activity has paid off in his retirement years. He says
that he can work for six hours at a time, riding his unicycle
or just doing his exercises while waving and holding the sign.
The mannequin, Natasha, who normally sits upon his
shoulders as he works is on the disabled list. He is going to
build another soon. All his female mannequins have been
called Natasha, derived from his love of gymnastics.
“In the beginning, I had a Mustang convertible,” he says,
Lives in: Fort Pierce
Education: High school and some
college; three years in the Army
Family: Wife, René; three siblings
Hobbies: No time for hobbies
Someone who inspires me: “My
wife who is a great artist!”
Something most people don’t
know about me: “Most people think I am dancing out there
with the sign, but I am not. I am into a different kind of exercising.
I am creating energy. I can go for six hours nonstop.”
Laigo, who over the years has had as many as 15 part-time jobs, hopes he
will still be waving when he turns 100.
Laigo looks through his portfolio that features photographs of him on a
unicycle at one of the jobs he has worked in the last decade.