Meet Finley, the six-year-old power line technician
Agassiz kid thinks he works for BC Hydro, meets real-world heroes
Finley Fulford is not officially a BC Hydro power line technician (PLT), but good luck convincing him of that.
Now six, the whip-smart kid has been building and maintaining power lines since he began his career as a PLT before his third birthday. He has built them with Mega Bloks, then Lego, and with sticks donated by grandad in the yard of his Agassiz home. He watches YouTube videos of PLTs at work, keeps up with the latest news from Powerlineman Magazine, and has recruited his two younger siblings as apprentice PLTs.
Finley has also been known to do sit-ups to work on his "lineman muscles."
No, he's not the son of parents who work for BC Hydro. His dad runs a mobile welding business and his mom, a welding instructor, is still trying to figure out why her oldest son has made working as a BC Hydro PLT his mission.
"You usually hear kids say things like 'I want to be a firefighter' and then it's 'I want to be a policeman... then I wanna be a plumber," says mom Chelsey. "But this is different. I really think he's going to do something with BC Hydro down the road, whether it's an engineer or a PLT. I think he's basically waiting for cheques to show up in the mail for all the years of unpaid work he's done for you already."
The cheques have yet to arrive – we're checking with Accounts Payable. But on a recent Thursday, Finley was treated to a surprise visit from a few BC Hydro PLTs.
'A lineman has to go to work, no matter what the weather'
Finley is often decked out in a BC Hydro hard hat and vest, part of a vast collection of BC Hydro gear donated by admirers at the utility over the years. He has built an outsized reputation among locals, including BC Hydro employees and contractors.
He's dedicated to his job, spending long hours tending to power lines in the yard, or staying up to midnight maintaining the Lego power lines in his room.
"I remember one day in particular," says Chelsey, stifling laughter. "It was a crappy, rainy day outside and he suddenly comes downstairs and he's like, "Oh, I really don't want to go outside today, I don't want to go to work today – it's gross and it's raining – but a lineman has to go to work, no matter the weather'. And he trudges outside in the rain to go check on his power lines in the yard, to see if they're still standing."
Finley is home-schooled for now, in part because his parents feel he's so bright – a reader since about age three – that he'd soon be bored. He's also not one for sitting down for long, is generally dismissive of rules, and is resisting traditional education.
"He doesn't like doing normal schoolwork," says Chelsey. "He'll say 'Why can't I just do lineman school instead? Why do I need to do this garbage? How old do I need to be to go to lineman school?'"
Earlier in his career – about a year ago – Finley gave kindergarten a shot, a twice-a-week outdoor school program. Predictably, he insisted showing up on day one in his hard hat and BC Hydro vest.
Now that he's being homeschooled, field trips sometimes involve heading out in mom's truck to find PLTs at work, then watching them from a safe distance from the bed of the pickup. "We're like the tornado chasers," says Chelsey, chuckling.
Younger siblings Henry, age four, and Charlotte, two and a half, are not nearly as obsessed, but know it's in their best interest to help big brother maintain his power lines.
"Henry is quite interested, and thinks he works for BC Hydro," says Chelsey. "And his sister, who can hardly form a sentence, helps with work on his power lines. She says: 'I wook fo bee-cee hy-dwo'."
Finley's parents, grandparents, and neighbours just sit back and enjoy the show.
"It's the funniest, weirdest, cutest thing," says Chelsey. "Just an absolute obsession."