Rico Padilla (right) visits St. Patrick Catholic School

St. Patrick first graders welcome Rico Padilla

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Twenty years ago, Rico Padilla owned a Mobil gas station at the northeast corner of Audelia and (what was then) Kingsley, where the Walgreen’s store is today. As he worked inside, a woman stopped to speak to him about the classic cars and hot rods he often parked on the corner to attract customers.

The woman’s six-year-old son was entranced by the cars he rotated out front, and the child perked up each time they passed the station. She wondered if Padilla might be willing to stop in and speak to his class at St. Patrick Catholic School down the street.

Padilla was willing and brought a hot red Corvette to show-and-tell for the entire first grade. Grateful teachers ushered the children outside to take photos with Padilla and with the shiny car in the school’s parking lot.

Two decades later, Padilla still thinks about those children, and he told me he regrets not going to the school every year with his custom vehicles. He’s not sure exactly what year he visited — “it was 2004 plus or minus a year” — but he thinks those kids, now grown, “might get a laugh out of seeing the photos after all these years.”

Padilla now owns and operates Rico and Sons Auto near Plano Road and Estate Lane. He still works on classic cars, but he handles average vehicles, too.

If you recognize any of the faces in Padilla’s pics, we’d love to hear from you here at the Advocate: ctoler@advocatemag.com. You may also email Padilla at wildcatautomotive@yahoo.com or stop by his shop at 9870 Plano Road.

Scott Griffen and Rico Padilla of Rico and Son’s Automotive