Vincent Gayle was born on September 16, 1975, the only child of Alfred and Constance Gayle of Oxford, Mississippi. Alfred was self-employed as a general contractor for Gayle-Jarrett Construction, which served the home-building needs of the greater Yoknapatawpha County area.
Constance was an in-home daycare provider, much to the satisfaction of little Vince, who grew up with a bevy of playmates at his own house despite having no siblings. Constance was kind but a stern disciplinarian when necessary, owing to her strict evangelical Christian upbringing.
Because of their shared love of machines of all sorts, Vincent was particularly inseparable from Mark Collier, one of the daycare kids. The boys spent hours taking apart old radios just to see if they could put them back together.
When they reached school age, their passion for tinkering grew. They traded their old radios for the insides of Commodore 64 computers, and when computers weren't complicated enough, they went on to car engines. The whole of Yoknapatawpha High School knew that if they needed to find Vinnie and Mark, all they'd need to do is visit the school shop.
After high school, the boys stayed close friends. However, they took separate career paths; Mark headed to the University of Mississippi to complete an engineering degree, while Vince went to work in his father's company. Mark graduated from Ole Miss in 1997, and despite rumors of her wild ways and infidelities, he married his college sweetheart Amanda in 1999. The Colliers welcomed a baby boy, Daniel, a year later.
Vince fared far worse. In 1999, Alfred Gayle died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 54. In 2001, a decade of poor accounting practices caught up to Gayle-Jarrett Construction, and the company went bankrupt, taking Vince's job with it. Vince fell into a depression.
While weaker men would've turned to drink or vice in his situation, Vince humbly turned to the church for support. Mark and Amanda also did their best to raise their friend's spirits, naming Vince godfather to baby Daniel. Eventually, Vince was hired in 2003 by Voight Brothers Heating and Cooling out of Oxford.
In 2012, tragedy struck again, this time in the Collier household. While 12-year-old Daniel was visiting a friend's house overnight, Mark and Amanda Collier died in their sleep at their Oxford lakeside residence. The official cause of their deaths was carbon monoxide poisoning.
Per the Colliers' will, Daniel was placed in the custody of Vincent Gayle. While grieving for the loss of his friends, Vince welcomed Daniel into his home. Vince was approaching 40 and thought his opportunity to have a family was over, but now, he had a teen to raise. Vince tried to make sure that he did right by his old buddy Mark by instructing his boy both in the way of machines and of God.
In 2015, Vince met Sharon Hathaway, a local waitress. Three years later, Sharon moved in for Vince's 43rd birthday, happily completing Vince's little makeshift family.