TAMPA (WFLA) – As morning breaks in Tampa, responsibilities start to weigh on residents. Between work, bills, appointments – there’s a lot to do.
Mark Tracy is no exception, but he has a stop to make before life gets busy.
“There’s good energy out here,” Tracy says of Bayshore Boulevard.
“Around this time of day, I like to be right here, that way I get people turning, people coming this way, but you can’t forget the people coming the other way,” he says.
His mission is simple.
“The sun’s going to shine and Guitar Man is going to be out there rootin’ for them,” he says. “It’s a good way to start the day.”
His impact is felt throughout the area.
“He’s making people’s days,” says jogger Ann Radnoti. “He’s waving and they’re beeping their horns back at him and it just really makes a positive atmosphere these days.”
“Sometimes you get a dun da da dun dun,” Tracy says about the honks. “And sometimes just a ‘dunt’.”
“People need someone to say, ‘I see you, I know you exist.” says friend June Kittay. “That’s what he does.”
Jennifer Annbarshear is Mark’s girlfriend, she says he does this because it’s his personality. But if she tries to convince him to just sleep in?
“Yes, but then he gets up and says, ‘there’s a little girl out there and she believes in Guitar Man’,” she says.
You can plan on seeing Tracy out on Bayshore Boulevard early in the morning every day, no matter rain or shine.
In fact, few things have gotten in the way of him being out there waving to people for the last seven years.
“Only when it’s lightning,” he says.
The only other time Tracy misses waving to people is when he’s out of town managing his karate centers where he is a Grandmaster 10th degree Black Belt in Kenpo karate.
Tracy says there’s no better time than the pandemic to help those who may be hurting.
“We’re really in this together,” he says. “Look! We love each other. It’s that simple.”
The next time you’re walking or driving by on Bayshore Boulevard, be sure to look for the hat and the ukulele.
Because Guitar Man has a wave for you.