When Scott Ellis’ picture appeared on the front page of The State Journal about a week ago, the 36-year-old wasn’t prepared for the recognition that would come his way.
The newspaper’s Facebook page was flooded with comments and acknowledgements almost immediately:
>My kids love him! They are always looking for him when we drive through. They make me honk so he’ll wave at them.
>We always look for him and wave. Just feels wrong when he’s not there, which is rare!
>Scotty rocks! Regardless of how hot, cold or rainy, he’s out there.
Ellis has read every comment – nearly 40 – and taken them to heart, quoting many in a recent interview.
“I saw that one where a woman said she wanted to get out and dance with me at red lights. She said she’d get left there if she did,” Ellis recalled with a laugh.
“Oh, and the guy who said he needed an air guitarist for his air band – that was funny. And one person said I used a pepperoni for a pick! I love ‘em.”
“That’s why I do it though,” he said with a smile. “I do it for the fans.”
Ellis, a Lawrenceburg native, grew up in and around Frankfort. He went to Franklin County High School but left in 1994 after he says he got mixed up with the wrong crowd.
In 1996, Ellis moved to South Bend, Ind., for a change of scenery and remained there until last year when he returned to Frankfort to help care for his three children – a 16-year-old daughter, a 13-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son.
After Ellis got settled, he says he would drive up and down Versailles Road during his job search, often passing a Little Caesar’s employee holding a sign outside the store.
“But the guy was just standing there resting, and I thought to myself, ‘He’s not selling pizza. I guarantee I could do that.’”
That guarantee was enough for managers at the popular pizza stop and soon after, Ellis was making good on his word.
“I wake up with a joke on my tongue and a smile on my face every day,” he says. “It’s very seldom I have a bad day. Since I was young, I’ve always been the center of attention, the class clown, trying to make someone laugh …”
For the last year, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. most weekdays, Ellis has jammed on a cardboard sign shaped like a guitar and danced for eager passersby on the corner of Versailles and East Main Street.
He’s also trained to do every other task at the store, but breaking it down is his bread and butter.
The extreme extrovert says he normally just does whatever dance moves pop into his head, oftentimes closing his eyes so he can “feel the music.”
“Hard” by Rihanna feat. Young Jeezy and “I’m So Fly” by Lloyd Banks are his go-to songs if he wants to get his “crowd” going.
“When kids roll down their windows and wave and I brighten their days, that motivates me.”
“I do get people who will give me the middle finger, but I’m like, ‘Hey! You should still buy some Little Caesar’s! I’ve got a million other people who enjoy this,’” he says with a smile.
Ellis keeps a steady stream of rap and R&B coming through his headphones, but every once in awhile, he’ll listen in a rock song or two.
And for those who expressed concern about the heat, Ellis says not to worry; he freezes a towel that he keeps with him and gets an unlimited supply of water.
Ellis is an aspiring songwriter and he sings “a little bit.” For now though, he’s not trying to push his way to the big time. If a door opens, it opens, he says.
“I’m just trying to do the best I can for my kids. I’ll keep doing this for as long as my body allows it.”