At HERRON + CO, we’re surrounded by stories. Listening to our clients’ stories, and helping to craft and share them through our brand and digital projects. Stories have always been a big part of my work but I have a big interest in them in everyday life too.
There are a few that really resonate with me in one way or another. I’ll read an article or watch a video and the story will stick around in my mind for days, weeks — and even longer. Lately, I’ve been thinking of the story of professional American football player Alfred Morris’s 1991 Mazda. Which sounds pretty obscure, if you haven’t come across it before.
For those who don’t know, Alfred Morris is an American football running back currently playing for the New York Giants in the NFL. He began his professional career in 2012 having been drafted by the Washington Redskins; he later went on to play for the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals before his current stint with the Giants, to which he recently resigned his contract. He’s a celebrated player known for his hard running style. But what interests me the most about Morris is his Mazda.
Morris purchased his 1991 Mazda 626 for a total of $2, from his pastor. It was his first car and he bought it during his junior year of college while playing for Florida Atlantic University. He named it “Bentley”. And despite his successes ever since (his current net worth is $2,000,000), Morris has continued to drive “Bentley”, never moving onto a newer or pricier model. In 2013 when the news caught hold of the story, Mazda dealers restored “Bentley” to ensure that Morris could drive it around the country as his career began to soar. When asked why he’s never purchased another, Morris simply says that “Bentley” keeps him grounded, saying he’ll continue to drive her “until she dies”.
The story of Alfred Morris and his Mazda has really stuck with me — and not just because it’s a great example of staying grounded and remembering how far you’ve come. It’s a story about those things; but also not letting go of your passions or the things about you that you enjoy, have or are interested in.
Design is always evolving — as is digital, fashion, technology, culture. But keeping hold of your own story, perspective and vision is much more important than keeping up with the ever-changing trends. Alfred Morris and his Mazda are a fantastic reminder that newer isn’t always better, and money can never replace meaning or what matters to us most.
Long live King Alfred… and Bentley!