Emil’s first visit to The Car Wash Show was in 2022, and he’s hooked. Visit No. 2 is coming up May 8-10, 2023, in Las Vegas.
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.
All through the night, every night, the beeping of the hospital machines was constant and hard to ignore for Jessenia De Jesus as she sat and watched her son Emil fight for his life.
Emil was born with VACTERL syndrome and a condition called esophageal atresia. The doctors found his esophagus behind his heart, and he was not expected to live past childbirth. He spent his first eight months in neonatal intensive care, with six of them in an induced coma. Doctors said he would never walk.
Emil has made one miraculous recovery after another — and learned to walk. But, by the time he was 5 years old, he was up to 39 surgeries. “Emil has been on a roller coaster,” De Jesus said.
“I saw my son in a coma and attached to all these machines,” De Jesus said. “But I’ve never seen him crying or sick. He is so strong. Emil has so much energy and a lot of desire to live.”
Jessenia and Emil live in Orlando, Fla., but are originally from Puerto Rico. They moved to Orlando when Emil was very young.
And have discovered that Emil adores car washes. He could probably even claim the title of car washing’s #1 fan.
“In Puerto Rico, he loved the car wash,” De Jesus said. “Once we moved to Florida, we got a subscription, and every single day he would want to go. We had to get a subscription for our nurse, too, for when I was working.” She said he begs her to beep the horn and he claps like crazy every time they pass a car wash, and has even figured out how to use the GPS on her phone to find them. “He is only 6 years old, but he can use the GPS to find every car wash. I don’t know how he does it. He can’t read but he can find every car wash in the GPS,” De Jesus said.
With his condition, Emil wasn’t always able to go to the car wash in-person. So, De Jesus had to bring the car wash to him sometimes.
“Last year, when Emil had surgery, he was really sad,” De Jesus said. “After the surgery, I got some foam board and some other pieces, and I made him a car wash.”
When Emil wasn’t able to go to the car wash while recuperating from one of his surgeries, his mom Jessenia De Jesus made one for him.
The sound of the machines turning on is deafening, as the water starts pouring over the car and the giant brushes engulf the entire vehicle. But this puts a smile on Emil’s face, whose favorite part is the “brrrr” of the machines.
This was what brought Emil to The Car Wash Show 2022 in Nashville, Tenn.
With a massive show floor stuffed to the brim with operating equipment, moving parts and a non-stop, record-breaking “brrrr” — Emil couldn’t have been in a better place.
De Jesus was there with CWD Solutions-US, Inc., which is a distributor for OPW Vehicle Wash Solutions and owned by her husband Angel Castro. Emil helped man the OPW Vehicle Wash Solutions - Belanger/PDQ booth, which meant he had a front-row seat to the giant, auto-powered brushes. It was his first time attending The Show.
Much like at the regular washes he goes to in Florida, Emil shared a contagious smile with everyone who walked by, overflowing with enthusiasm and pure joy at being part of a show devoted to car washing. We get that, Emil. Truly, we do.
And we look forward to seeing you again at The Car Wash Show 2023!
Children under 18 may enter The Car Wash Show for free, but they must get a pass at registration, and be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Details and Registration for The Car Wash Show 2023
Want to know which car washes in Florida get Emil’s most beeps and hand-claps? Here are his top five:
Classic Car Wash
Sport Car Wash
Faultless Car Wash
Floris Car Wash
Tommy’s Express Car Wash
Emil at one of his favorite car washes, Classic Car Wash.
Free Subscription to CAR WASH Magazine for Members
All ICA members received a complimentary print version of CAR WASH Magazine delivered to their mailboxes each quarter. Be the first to see what’s happening in the car wash industry, read stories that are exclusively shared in the print version, and be part of an association that has your growth and business goals as its priorities.