Robert Thornton was sitting in his mom’s kitchen in Chico, California, feeling discarded. He had lived and breathed baseball his whole life—even playing professionally in Mexico—but multiple injuries, including one to his elbow that required surgery, had derailed his playing career.
It was 2006, and the 28-year-old didn’t have a clue what to do next. Then he noticed a picture on his mom’s refrigerator: a drawing that a little girl gave to Mrs. Thornton—a bus driver for children with special needs—as a gift. He couldn’t stop staring at it.
“I was mezmerized by this child’s imagination,” Thornton says. “I know it was just a kid’s drawing with made-up characters, but something about it was different.”
The next morning, Thornton decided to put the image on a T-shirt—and realized he had found his new passion.
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