I am proud to be an employee of Microsoft for over 10 years and each year it is a great honor to be part of the annual Microsoft giving campaign; which so far has seen over $1 billion in donations from its employees since the program began. Last year alone, Microsoft employees raised a record-breaking $125 million for more than 18,000 nonprofits and schools across the globe. https://www.microsoft.com/about/philanthropies/our-employees/employee-giving
Microsoft encourages its employees to find creative ways to get people to donate and it ranges from 'The Microsoft Car Show' to an auction where you can bid to dunk a VP or own a piece of Microsoft memorabilia. Being the first year to have my GTI actually drivable for this show I wanted to be part of this day with the chance to donate and also get the word out about this special annual event. 100% of the donations from the Car Show go towards the United Way of King County and just last year alone was responsible for over $40,000 in contributions. The car show was started by a fellow employee in 2012 and has been growing steadily ever since.
This year the Microsoft Car Show was held in the building 99 parking garage with the intent to use the top floor for parking in daylight, but unfortunately with October in the Northwest comes unpredictable weather. The show was held on Friday afternoon from 10-3 and although we were fortunate to miss the rain, it was cold, windy and the clouds were ominous enough to keep the show indoors and away from the top floor.
This unfortunately means the dreaded backlit parking garage photos, but with over 100 cars present it was still a good turnout with a crazy mix of different cars ranging from a $3.5 million 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB to a completely stock Audi TT. Upon arriving in my 1996 GTI, I had the fortunate luck to have what is likely my #1 dream car park right next to me with a brand new Porsche 991 GT3 911 in white... well this is going to go well.
Getting the opportunity to walk around and being so disappointed by the quality of any photographs I was taking I decided to focus on a couple of unique details to try and capture the range of cars which were present. It was neat to be part of a show with so much variety including a Mclaren 675, Porsche GT3 and GT4, Ariel Atom, Model A, Mustang on Air, Porsche Speedster, 55 Chevy with an LS3, Fiat 500L, Corvettes, Jeeps, BMW's and more ranging from totally stock to a few bolt ons in most cases.
I quickly realized that my car was pretty far modified compared to most and that most of the questions and comments I was getting was in relation to how low the car was. I overheard several people explaining to others that the tank in my trunk was for Nitrous which was comical - definitely met some cool people and it was great to chat about the build to those that don't necessarily know the car or the engine.
All attendees were given a piece of paper to vote for their favorite car and there were about 8 different categories that ranged from best bike, most custom, best paint job and most loved. Overall I thought that this was pretty cool because it's interesting to see what people vote for considering the massive variance in the cars present.
After all, when you are parked a couple of cars down from a million dollar Ferrari what do you really expect to do with your 1996 Volkswagen anyways?
Well as it turns out, I guess people must have liked the GTI because surprisingly I was called for the first award with 'Best Custom' and was asked to come up in front of everyone for an official photograph and a trophy... paint me surprised as I didn't think that a Volkswagen would get much attention at a show like this, but it means it was the favorite of some people there which was cool.
Thanks a lot to the organizers and to those who have donated to be part of the Microsoft annual Giving Campaign. It was a good time and I am certainly looking forward to the opportunity to be part of this again next year. Lets just hope for better weather and a spot on the roof for some better lighting next time around!