When Ryan Dickso heard the story of the “Accordion Man” Darryl Bain and his worn out brakes he decided something had to be done.
So the manager of Manteca’s Les Schwab Tires on Yosemite Avenue at Union Road had his crew replace the calipers along with new brake rotors, and fill the master cylinder with fluid.
Bain is the Salvation Army bell ringer who has chosen to play his accordion in front of the Save Mart Market on North Main Street in Manteca. The old 1985 Dodge Ram van has been worse for wear for months with Bain acknowledging the brakes were totally shot. He was given the van by his church pastor a number of years ago for $600 and credit for work he had done at the church.
The crew of seven mechanics stayed in the shop bays until Bain arrived, shortly after 5:15 p.m., to pick up his vehicle that had the brakes broken into two pieces. They said they wanted to make sure he stayed safe on the road and would be able to continue playing Christmas carols for shoppers at the Manteca market.
Bain said he might even be able to go back up to Knights Ferry soon and pan for gold – an activity he has enjoyed in the past when his van was running better. He’ll have to wait until injuries to his leg have healed, though, to have the strength it will take to walk along the Stanislaus River. That injury, that happened at home with a fall, has required him to sit in a chair most of the time he is playing in front of the market, where he has always been known to stand playing his accordion.
The Save Mart staff also keeps an eye out for his safety outside the store as they hear the yuletide music wafting into the building when the doors open and shut.
He has been depending on a friend to give him a ride to work at the grocery store – unable to carry his heavy accordion on his only other form of transportation – his bicycle. The musician has worn out two other accordions over the last 10 years while he logged some 20,000 hours playing musical meddles for the charity. He has also been a regular in the past in front of the Manteca Post Office.
The accordion he currently uses was presented to him as a Christmas gift last year by the president of the Escalon Accordion Association. He noted he doesn’t just have to keep a careful on the donations he collects but also on his accordion that someone attempted to steal last year.
With a new set of brakes, the only other major problem he faces is the engine in the van that he says runs very rough when he starts it up, thinking it could be a cracked head on the engine. Side windows have been shot and smashed out and are covered with large pieces of cardboard – from activities near his home close to a long known gang haven at Southside Park in south central Manteca.