Gallup Ave. garage door used for inspirational quotes

Zoe Greszler • Dec 22, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Steven Kiel knows what it’s like to have people misjudge you. 

“I’m often perceived in a negative way, between cars and I am a connoisseur of firearms and then between my physical appearance and then my dogs,” said Kiel, 27, of 36 Gallup Ave. “The dogs, cameras, guns those make people uncomfortable. And then I heard this is like the bad side of Gallup.”

Rather than allow that negativity to paint a bad light over Kiel’s attitude, he decided to put out “positive energy” and encourage others. 

“I just wanted to do something positive for the neighborhood and put out positive energy,” he said. “I was like, ‘What if I painted my garage with chalkboard paint?’ I did the bottom in dry erase, but it took like three hours to clean it the one time I did use it. So I’m pretty much just going to stick with the chalkboard.  I get (the quotes) wherever. In my free time I’ll just look up random stuff and keep this list of quotes that I like.”

From there, it’s all measuring, practicing and putting it up for all who drive by to see.

“Then I have to make them fit,” he said, adding he brings out a measuring tape and outlines where the letters will go before making the message.

“You know I can’t put like a Bible verse or anything long like that up there because there’d be an accident.”

Kiel keeps an Instagram account that documents each of the inspirational quotes, in hopes of reaching more people. The account, Chalkboardgarage, has only 10 followers so far, but Kiel said that’s not what he’s focused on.

“It’s just a way to kind of put out positive energy, so if I had one follower or a thousand followers, it doesn’t really matter,” he said. “It’s just about putting out that positive energy.”

Kiel said he has received some positive feedback on that account and from someone who stopped by his house.

“Someone in a Hyundai pulled up and said thank you,” he said. “That was really nice.” 

How long does he plan to keep the inspirational saying coming?

“I’ll do that as long as I live here,” Kiel said. “Hopefully I can keep it up in the cold.”

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