This beloved autobody pro is arguably the refinish family’s biggest cheerleader! Gratitude & resilience are his superpowers.
Autobody Source staff
Most would chalk up 2020 as the year we all could’ve skipped. But during that ‘storm’, an Alberta, Canada, refinisher gained our admiration and friendship for his supportive optimism that shines both inside and outside the booth.
Come to think of it, we can’t imagine anyone in this community who wouldn’t become instant friends with Sheik Adamsaib once they’ve met him.
Sheik was born and raised in Mauritius, East Africa, before setting his career sights up north, but his worldview stays as idyllic as that island paradise, regardless of life’s hard times. Take notes, folks: Here’s how & why he spreads love to the collision repair community.
The More You Get Back
Before finishing high school, Sheik decided to enter the workforce. His father, who was also his mentor, taught him to stake his growth on gratitude.
“I went to school for two years for automotive painting,” a unique experience, Sheik says, because campuses on the island taught only one trade program each, versus additional occupations like automotive repair.
“When I was done with my schooling, I was sent to one of the biggest dealerships on the island to work. I remember my dad telling me at the time “This is a great opportunity. No matter what they tell you to do, do it. Listen to their advice, you’re going to go far.” I was very young at the time, about 16 or 17, but I guess from that moment I realized that you should not take anything for granted. I’ve stuck to painting and along the way I’ve realized that the more you show gratefulness, the more you get back. That’s how I feel.”
Who You Choose to Be in Life
Sheik says the cultural transition made his family’s move to Canada one of the most difficult periods of his life; specifically, instances of being told “we don’t need immigrants here in Canada.”
“At that very moment, I felt like jumping on a plane and going back home,” he recalls. “But then I also thought about the reason why I moved here, which was for my kids, and nothing was going to stop me.” Sheik says those moments motivated him to excel at his craft.
“There’s always going to be something to complain about, this is human nature. But at the end of the day… who you are, who you choose to be in life is what matters.”
He credits his career longevity to that same philosophy. “There are two things I don’t do in my professional life: Complain or ask for a raise. I’ve never done that in the past 22 years.” Instead, Sheik says, “I will work hard and show you that I deserve it.”
What’s Going to Make You Stronger
Sheik has timely advice for aspiring automotive techs. “First of all, whoever wants to drag you down because you are a girl or thinks you are too young, don’t worry about that. Because there is a thing called equality.”
“And when you get into a new job, it’s always tough. The environment is different, your colleagues are different, your boss is new, and the techniques for doing your job might be different from what you were doing before. You’ve got to put up with it. You have to go through this, it’s going to be your experience for the future. You have to go through tough times, because that’s what’s going to make you stronger.”
To those who’ve faced peer pressure to quit or change jobs, Sheik says “I hear that a lot, “You should move to a different shop, you’ll get paid more.” Don’t worry about money. Money is not everything in life. If you wake up in the morning and are happy to go to work, then that’s where you belong.”
As the only painter between two bodyshop locations in western Canada, Sheik says he gets little time off. But he has one belief that fuels his fighting spirit.
“When I go to work every day, I expect appreciation and when I don’t get it, it does bother me. But at the same time, in life, I don’t do things just to please people. I do it to please God, because he’s the one who has a better future for me ahead. No matter how much you’re trying to impress your boss, if you’re trying to do it the wrong way, by cheating or other things, you won’t be happy.”
Sheik’s upbeat outlook isn’t lost on his peers, particularly on Instagram, where he’s known by his handle @gunsandhoses_ and admired as much for random kindness as he is for world-class paintwork.
“It’s very important to have somebody who helps you and supports you. For me, Instagram is not only about supporting those who are already well-positioned in this industry, but anybody,” Sheik says.
And he’s deeply appreciated for it.
“This why I joined IG: To create unity, friendship, inspiration and most of all to have a support group of people who are interested in helping others reach their full potential & success in life. Sheik @gunsandhoses_ is the true meaning of life. I’m truly blessed to have such an amazing friendship with you. I appreciate your support and inspiration you have given me and everyone else in the world. We are thousands of miles apart. But our friendship is right next to each other on Instagram,” Todd Stodgell, Master Collision Painter & Technical Director for Island Concepts, posted from Hawaii.
“Thanks for being our best cheerleader! We appreciate you,” Emily of INK N IRON AUTO BODY posted from Canada.
Sophie Deslongchamps of New Brunswick, Canada, told us: “When I painted my bike, I posted about my struggle keeping my pearlcoat from crackling. Sheik was one of the first persons to message me privately, and he gave me the best advice. He didn’t post it for everyone to see, and he didn’t make fun of me for not knowing. You cannot have a better cheerleader than @gunsandhoses_”.
“Sheik doesn’t know me from Adam, but I know who he is because I love what he adds to a feed,” said Seattle automotive tech student Jana Warkne. “I think it’s cool that he’s an industry professional and he takes time for students like me who aren’t professionals, because he isn’t doing it for personal clout or self-importance, and he makes you come away feeling like you’re a human.”