I Installed Steve Jobs’ Trampoline [Me & Steve Stories]



Me & Steve Stories — Some of the best stories about Steve Jobs are the personal, intimate ones. We’re collecting them here and will run as many new stories as we can find. If you have a story about Steve you’d like to share, please send us your submissions.

In September, 2004, KC Bradshaw was working as a trampoline installer, which is how he got to meet Steve Jobs in person and leave with a very special souvenir.

Today, I met Steve Jobs!

It was as simple as “Hello, I’m Steve… nice to meet you. Come on into my house.” And with that, we walked through his front gate and through the garage to the backyard.

I can say that going into it, I was strangely nervous. I guess, it’s not every day that you get to meet one of the most famous icons in the modern computer business especially at his house, while he is finishing his breakfast.

Steve lives in a nice, big expensive house in Palo Alto — but it is a different kind of nice then what you would expect; more “Buddist-nice” than “Trump-nice.” And actually really close to the type of house that I would love to live in, had I enough money to spend.

Approaching the house, you walk through a front yard filled with fruit trees; past an opening in the exterior 6-foot wall running around the property; into an open front yard which splits into the left to go up to the main house and straight back through an antique garage; to the very large backyard (so big in fact, it looks like he knocked down a neighboring house and is using the lot for his yard). He lives on a corner, even so, he has a rather large yard for this part of peninsula — filled with flowers, vegetables, fruit trees and rose bushes. The garden is nautrally landscaped (yet orderly) with nice pathways and benches everywhere. The centerpiece of the garden is a large teepee-shaped trellis. Quite an understated ellegance.

I will spare you most of the boring details of the day. We set up in the back corner of the yard, and began the install, which took us three hours to complete. During the process, he would come out and check on us every 45 minutes or so, usually staying for a bit to chat about the trampoline, the company that built it, the manufacturing process, or how the trampoline could be simplified and improved upon. We didn’t really get any opportunities to chat about things outside the task at hand, but it was nice that he would spend any time at all with us. He even got up to test-jump a bit too (I really, really wish I had that on video).

Before we finished the install, his daughter discovered the present and came outside to start jumping. She was having a party of some sort with all her friends, and was very excited to have a new trampoline! We watched the girls play as we hung around, waiting for Steve to finish a conversation in his front yard.

He finally finished talking and came around back. Rob explained a little about the satefy rules and the specifics of the install as we walked back towards the back corner of the yard. He jumped up inside the trampoline and started jumping with his daughter. It was really sweet. He jumped around inside a bit, then got out and gave some encouraging words to her and her friends. Then he paid us the install fee (plus the largest tip Rob has ever recieved on an install).

“And one more thing” we sheepishly said. (As we prepared to ask him for a favor)

“Can you sign our iPods???”

Cut to us lightning-quickly whipping out our personal music players: Rob’s new 4G model, and my beat-up old 2G brick from 2002.

“You don’t want me to do that — it will rub off,” he quips.

He looks at mine and continues, “and that one is going to be a collectors’ item soon!”

I think to myself, “exactly!” and say “true, it’s a classic design.”

Then he asks us some questions about how many of our friends have iPods and if we use iTunes Music Store and we answer honestly. I mention that I am waiting to get a new iPod with a larger hard drive (hoping that he will reveal any information on the rumored next model). He seems to pause a moment, but doesn’t let any secret cats, out of any well-designed Apple bags. But, I could tell that he wanted to say something.

And then we walked ourselves out, richer with cash, richer with experience, and richer with souvenirs of the experience — and brainstorming ways to preserve the signature.

If you have a story about Steve, please share it with us.

KC Bradshaw works as a freelance graphic designer for Exkclamation.com. In his spare time, he photographs the finer textures of life; rides his classic motorcycle; and absolutely loves music. His Twitter: exclamation. KC’s story was originally published here.

  • Sean Harding

    Awesome story.

  • Hal

    Nice story but elegance and receive are spelled incorrectly.

  • Teyes


  • lolag721

    Very cool, lucky guys.

  • Phil

    What a great thing isn’t it? Here’s a man who’s seemingly casual encounters become tales of legend. 

  • Mick H

    You’re really concerned about spelling here? Fuck off…

  • Markus

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. It’s kinda nice to find out more about such a innovative and creative person. In the last couple of days I have read quite a few of those stories and they all have a few things in common:
    – Despite being a billionaire, Steve was quite a normal guy. He opens the door and talks to everyone. I cannot imagine people like Trump or so talking to regular people or even opening the door.
    – Steve always talks to people and asks questions. Especially questions about their digital behavior. How do they use their iPods, iTunes, etc. CEOs from other companies have no clue what’s going on in reality. They think their Gartner, IDG, etc. forecasts tell them all they need. Wrong. I think that’s one of his secrets of success – go into thd public, talk to your customers, show up in stores. Ask questions, be open, and don’t show any “I am cEO and I am better than you” behaviour.

    Love to hear your opinions, and also hear more stories. Keep them coming.

    Thanks, Markus

  • Guest

    I agree with Mick. So you caught a few misspelled words. Comments like that say a lot about your intelligence. I’m an English teacher and I couldn’t have cared less about those mistakes.  

  • dpilk

    What the hell kind of camera is this guy using, and when was this photo taken?

  • lb51

    Did it cause you to lose perspective?

  • jgr627

    That looks like an old treo maybe n if not a treo def an old smartphone…..great story by the way n I hope to read many more about Steve Jobs…..

  • GH

    Gotta’ love the internet.  Why should you spell anything correctly? ha

  • RenevandenRadio

    My goodness! If that happened to me and that was my iPod… I’d put it into a showcase with some nice lighting and a red cord in front of it!

  • varun dogra

    excellent story!!really have more respect for the man as the days pass by

  • Hal

    Whoa!  You guys need to chill.  Assholes.

  • Oprah Noodlemantra

    Of for Pete’s sake. He’s not a journalist. He’s a man telling a story.

    You gotta love the internet. There’s always some jerk ready to make a nasty comment behind a veil of anonymity.

  • Oprah Noodlemantra

    Of for Pete’s sake. He’s not a journalist. He’s a man telling a story.

    You gotta love the internet. There’s always some jerk ready to make a nasty comment behind a veil of anonymity.

  • Oprah Noodlemantra

    Where’s your story, Hal?

  • Oprah Noodlemantra

    And feel free to absolutely go to town on the fact that I hit the F instead of the H key. Little people like you no doubt love to do those types of things. And I live to entertain the little people.

  • GH

    Except I’m not anonymous? You see my name, you can click it and it goes to my Facebook…

    Also, the fact he’s not a journalist means nothing, anyone should know how to properly read and write. I’m not talking about typos, this is common English. 

  • Oprah Noodlemantra

    “Except I’m not anonymous? You see my name, you can click it and it goes to my Facebook…”

    Try again. You can’t click your name and go anywhere. There’s no link.

  • McRCN

    It is a Treo phone.  I had one for a couple of years.

  • Pendejo33

    you notice he is not taking the pic with an iphone though, come on what gives

  • kc! Bradshaw

    Hey Pendejo33, the photo was taken in 2004 just hours after I left Steve’s house, well before the iPhone came out. That was a Palm Treo 600 reflected in the iPod. Rest assured, I have owned every iPhone since Apple started making them—purchased my first one 7/7/07.

  • kc! Bradshaw

    That’s the plan. As soon as I got home from his house, it went back into it’s original packaging and put in a safe spot. I still have to figure out a way to hang it/preserve it to best highlight it on the wall.

  • kc! Bradshaw

    What did I spell incorrectly?

  • kc! Bradshaw

    It was taken with my Treo 600 (long before iPhones existed).

  • kc! Bradshaw

    Thanks! It was an opportunity of a lifetime. Glad I get to share it with everyone.

  • kc! Bradshaw

    Thanks for the heads up. I’ve always had a problem spelling receive. I’ll fix it in the original.

  • mgeyster1

    ding dong

  • kc! Bradshaw

    Thanks for re-publishing this story Leander. I have been thinking about that moment for quite a while now. Glad that your audience gets to see the Steve I met that day. I still consider myself very thankful to have gotten the opportunity to meet him, especially under those circumstances.

  • kc! Bradshaw

    Thanks for the heads up Gillian. I just fixed the spelling errors on my original version—ran it through spell check. WOW… didn’t think I had that many issues. LOL. Hopefully it reads better now.

  • kc! Bradshaw

    It’s an honest concern, I didn’t take offense. Frankly I am a bit embarrassed that I didn’t catch those mistakes anytime in the past 7 years it has been online. HA!

  • kc! Bradshaw

    Turns out there were a number of other errors as well. I fixed my original version for what it’s worth. :)

  • Guest

    As someone that has worked in a field where tips were a large part of the compensation for my services (I was a fully certified ski instructor) I am most struck by that one detail at the end of this story…it says a lot about Steve Jobs as a person.  Obviously, there usually is a high correlation with tipping well and being a generous person.  :)

  • LTMP

    Many years ago (about 30 I think) I met Steve at a conference.  He shook my hand (along with hundreds of others) after his talk.
    What struck me was that when he looked at me and took my hand, he really seemed to see me.  For that moment, I had all of his attention.

    Gates was there too, and he was pleasant and smiling, but there wasn’t that connection.

    Later, when speaking to other attendees, they all mentioned the same feeling.

    I had an Apple computer at the time (I’ve always had one since my first ][e), but I really didn’t have a clue who he was before walking into that conference.

    I became a fan that day.

    I wonder how many others have the same story.

  • Phil

    Anyone have a link to or context for the photo at the top of this post. He looks quite raucous.

  • Neil

    So you won’t mind me criticising your split infinitive in this post then?

  • Neil

    It’s also concerning that you use ‘anyone’ rather than the more grammatically correct ‘everyone’.

  • Monica della Torre

    KC Bradshaw, this is a touching story about SJ.  Sadly, this kind of story should be published in places like Yahoo Commentary or CNET or MSNBC or the Wall Street Journal or other places where vast hordes of Jobs-haters and Apple-haters still demonize Steve Jobs with stereotypes like “Steve never gave anything, he only took from others”  or “Steve Jobs was a monster, a heartless tyrant at Apple Inc”. 

    When you only publish these touching and humanist stories in Mac-centric blogs like Macrumors or Cult-of-Mac, you are simply preaching to the choir.  The majority of Mac fans reading this story ALREADY have a healthy respect for Steve Jobs.  You have not changed anyone’s opinion of Steve Jobs by publishing it here. 

    Try having this piece published elsewhere…. in places I mentioned above… that way, your story MIGHT just affect the opinions of many that still demonize Steven P Jobs and still float the stereotypes that he was some inhuman “monster” or some kind of Heartless CEO Dictator Tyrant.

  • evanvar

    This is the best story I;ve ever read about Steve. Thanks Leander

  • jnjnjn3

    Nice story. It’s a really good idea to remember Steve Jobs in this way.
    That’s a very good initiative Leander!


  • jnjnjn3

    I know the feeling, I had a very similar experience with another very famous person (at least in Holland): scientist and astronaut Wubbo Ockels. I was 17 or 18 at the time and attended an ESA meeting with my father and was introduced to him – along with lots of other people – at the end of the meeting, but his attention was very focused.

  • tabgrip1

    What a nice little story about Steve Jobs. I always have the urge to read up on people, post mortem, which really shouldn’t be the case. But there’s always something heartwarming about browsing through tributes and lovely stories of a person’s life.

  • HerbalEd

    Remember …. It’s “I” before “E”, except after “C”. And thanks so much for sharing your moment with greatness. 

  • kc! Bradshaw

    If being a Mac user for the last 15 years has taught me one thing, it’s that there’s usually not much point to convincing people to like Apple (or Steve Jobs)—they either get it or they don’t. I am happy Leander re-published my story here, so people who would appreciate it most could enjoy my experience.

  • @ryanaround

    Except the 3G. ;)