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Humans of WEGO: Getting back on the road

Senior Oliver Kubik’s is recovering after a harrowing motorcycle accident, and is busy crafting his future.
Senior+Oliver+Kubik+looks+at+his+motorcycle+while+on+a+drive.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Oliver+Kubik%29
Senior Oliver Kubik looks at his motorcycle while on a drive. (Photo courtesy of Oliver Kubik)

On the morning of July 4, 2023, Oliver Kubik comfortably woke up in his bed, just like any other person on their summer break. He got ready for the day and enjoyed an Independence Day feast with his Polish family and friends in the evening. 

The following morning, he wound up in a hospital bed. 

At first glance, Kubik is just a regular guy at WEGO. He listens to all genres of music, right now pop and jazz, and likes “Star Wars. An active student, he challenges himself with multiple AP classes. After high school, he hopes to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“I would love to study Aerospace Engineering, design rockets, and work for NASA or SpaceX. But hopefully not Lockheed Martin, or any military organization,” Kubik said. 

In his free time, he works on cars, a skill he has developed over the past year. He also customizes his bike, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R

“For about a year, I was always replacing my car’s rims, you know, other mechanical stuff. I was replacing the brakes, the tires, stuff like that,“ Kubik said. 

On occasion, Kubik rides with his friends Michael Angeles (‘24) and Affaan Aleem (‘24), who also own bikes.

“Oliver gave me a lot of advice when I first started talking about getting my motorcycle. He helped me get more comfortable with the idea of riding a motorcycle, having to switch gears, countersteering, redlining,“ Angeles said.

Not long ago, Kubik turned his bike purple, quickly catching people’s eyes.

“Yeah, I turned it purple. And everyone now is saying, ‘Oh, I love the color, good color choice.’ So definitely was a good choice. I was gonna paint it white, but I was like, I’m a kid. I’m gonna paint it purple. And now it stands out. And it’s nice,” Kubik said.

The finished motorcycle, complete with purple paint job. (Photo by Oliver Kubik)

He took that same motorcycle out for a quick ride on Independence Day night: one that was not meant to last more than an hour. 

“I remember that day because it was the day that I painted my car black. I went on a mission to paint my Lancer fully black, with spray paint and everything. That day was also when my friends from Poland actually came as well. We were all relaxing, getting to know each other and stuff. And then at like 11 o’clock or midnight. I just went out, “ Kubik said.

The next thing Kubik can remember is losing control of his bike, and two strangers helping him up.

“I was really lucky at the scene because it was the Fourth of July. So normally at 12 or 11, there wouldn’t be a lot of people at the scene, but because it was Fourth of July, two people, two wonderful ladies, pulled over and helped me, “ Kubik said.

The next few days were a blur. Kubik does not mince words: it was “absolutely terrible.” He could not do much during his five-day stay in the hospital. 

“I was starving as well. Then they hooked me up to, like, a saline bag…and I couldn’t move. And it was just terrible. I was just on my phone like 24/7,”  Kubik said.

The immediate recovery period was not much better either and was filled with painful stitches and restricted mobility. 

“Every day, I had to replace the pad on my stitches. And it was like, one of the worst pains ever because this pad is sticky. It’s sticking to your skin. And it’s really like, tearing some of the skin apart. And it’s just terrible. It was painful. It was honestly depressing. I was just watching movies. I couldn’t move or anything. My mom and dad had to give me food. I was just watching movies on the couch for two weeks…I binged ‘Star Wars’, I binged ‘Invincible’, I binged The Boys. I watched a bunch of movies just to get the time out of the way,“ Kubik said.

The following months showed more improvement than was expected, but still not at all enjoyable. Kubik had casts on both of his arms, and his ability to drive was limited. 

“I was very restricted of course. I had two casts, and I couldn’t do things I enjoyed. Like, boxing, working out, going out with my friend, and driving. That was one of the worst things, I had to be driven around every time,“ Kubik said.

During and after this period, Kubik held strong, refusing to allow his injuries to set him back. His lifelong athleticism and interest in soccer translated over to something he had taken up over the past year: boxing. 

“I think boxing has helped me because initially people think, boxing is such a violent sport, and gruesome, but in reality, it’s just like any other sport. It’s like a game of chess. And it’s a good exercise. I always liked being athletic. Having a hobby, I feel, definitely helps with your attitude in life,” Kubik said.

Kubik spars with many of his friends as well as people at his boxing gym, but he started out facing his friend Aleem. 

“We became friends from school in fifth grade because we had very similar interests. Recently, Oliver and I were both interested in boxing and motorcycles, and we both started going to a boxing gym,“ Aleem said. 

Kubik also rediscovered a love for video games, primarily “Fortnite”, and delved into new hobbies and interests.

“Any other things may be, obviously, my interest in space. I’ve been learning a lot. And also video games, that’s a huge thing. I love video games,“ Kubik said. 

Once the casts started to come off, Kubik wasted no time and got to work. Where others would likely call a mechanic, Kubik used his skills to become one and repaired his motorcycle from the crash all on his own. 

The process of painting the motorcycle purple was an arduous one. (Photo courtesy of Oliver Kubik)

“So also, with my engineering, you know, passions. I had to reconstruct the bike. I took away the plastic, I replaced the tires, you know, I did all this like mechanical stuff. And it took about three weeks. It made me enjoy it, honestly. So that’s when I realized like, oh, maybe I should pursue engineering, it’s all about error and trial. You know, so that was basically it. So I was like, maybe I should pursue this in college,“ Kubik said.

Now, Kubik is grateful for his recovery, as well as the people who supported him during his ordeal. Throughout his life, he’s never strayed from his family. His father is a massive inspiration to him, an immigrant who struggled and managed to achieve the American Dream. 

“My parents moved here in 2004 from Poland, we struggled a lot financially. And we struggled financially until the year 2015. And that is when we moved here, and my dad just abandoned his job, and created his own company with what he’s doing. And he’s very talented. He was being really messed up by his boss. And now he makes like, above like 150 grand a year, with his own company, and it’s really good,” Kubik said.

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About the Contributor
Eshan Amir
Eshan Amir, Senior Reporter
Eshan Amir is a senior who partakes in watching movies, filmmaking, and photography in his free time. He strives to accomplish his best at West Chicago Community High School and acknowledges that WEGO provides a great space to meet new people and prosper social skills. After school, he plans to pursue a career in film making or the law industry. He is currently drafting a screenplay, learning the basics of criminal law, and intends on taking journalism to get better at communicating and listening to people.
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  • ryFeb 5, 2024 at 2:02 pm

    fire article. great job as always eshan amir

  • Mr. AielloJan 11, 2024 at 10:43 am

    Awesome story of recovery.