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Thursday, September 6, 2012

How a Motorcycle Accident and A Fire Rekindled a Dream

How a Fire Engine Rescued a Restaurant & Became a Dream On Wheels
Thought for the day: Sometimes adversity helps us rediscover & reinvent dreams we thought were impossible. Here’s a story of how a dream was rekindled by a fire! If this story reminds you of other similar ways that adversity lead to the resurrection or creation of a new dream project, I’d love for you to share it, since it may inspire others & help them find creative ways to reach their dreams.

I must admit, living near NYC has spoiled me. It is easy to find great restaurants just about an hour from home without paying an arm & a leg. However, in Fairfield County CT finding good food at an affordable price is a challenge. Whenever we find one, it closes within a year or two. Jerry, my fiancée, & I have been keeping a running count of good down-to-earth affordable restaurants in Fairfield County that we have loved & lost over the last couple of years.  So far we are up to about 20. It seems that the overhead in CT is high & the economy is tough. Around here, people seem to be willing to pay for atmosphere & food that is overpriced & inferior to reasonable establishments in NYC, but will not frequent the less expensive simple restaurants. It is also hard to find places that stay open late since many people commute into the city & go to bed early.

We discovered a relatively new brick oven pizza restaurant on Blackrock Turnpike, near Fairfield Cinemas at Bullard Square in Bridgeport CT about 2 years ago. Although we often avoid pizza since it is high in carbohydrates & fat, this one was different with thin crusts & healthy unique toppings. We ate there before & after a few movies & were happy to have found a new restaurant.

Late one night, a year & a half ago, we were on our way there after a movie when we saw that the entire street was blocked off by fire engines in front of the restaurant. The fire had occurred earlier in the day. The entire building was virtually demolished. Fortunately, no one was hurt although there had been some close calls.

To our dismay, we assumed we had lost yet another good restaurant. After I heard they planned to rebuild, whenever we went to the movies in Bridgeport, we would drive by to see whether they had reopened.  A sign on the window said it would reopen six or seven months ago, but each time we went, we saw no progress.

A few months ago, we drove by & to our surprise saw a fire engine parked on the street where the restaurant used to be. By the truck, there were some tables & we realized they were selling pizza. At closer inspection, we saw that the fire engine had been retrofitted with a brick oven. The sign on the truck said “Fire Engine Pizza Company.” We stopped & had some of the best pizza I have ever tasted!
Marty McCarthy by his Fire Engine Pizza Oven

With my new iphone in hand & the positive experiences I had doing psychological research about people’s dreams on impromptu interviews on the Dreams On Wheels 2012 Tour, I decided to go back & find out more about how this new creative business literally rose from the ashes in the midst of a recession. I interviewed Marty McCarthy, one of the owners of the restaurant, that burned down a year and a half ago & of the new catering business housed in a fire truck.

When I asked him to tell me about his dreams, I learned that this was not the 1st time he had overcome adversity. Marty had been a volunteer fireman for many years as well as a restaurant manager. He had always dreamed of becoming a professional fireman. A week before his physical exam to become a fireman in 2001, a motorcycle accident & a shattered femur ended his fire fighting aspirations. About a year later he opened his 1st restaurant.

When the fire destroyed his newly opened sit down restaurant, he “tried to make the best out of a bad situation.” He still loved firefighting & always wanted to own a fire engine, but the only way his wife would let him buy one, was if it made money. He designed & had the brick oven built inside the fire engine. On weekends, they will be selling pizza on the street until the sit-down restaurant reopens in a few months. During the week, & after the restaurant reopens, they will take the fire engine to birthday parties & corporate functions as a catering business.
Although I recorded the interview on my iphone, most of it simply won’t download to my computer (note to self, learn more about your iphone). The clip above, is Marty’s advice to people working on their dreams when challenged by financial, medical or other problems.

What’s your dream? Have you rediscovered older dreams like Marty did, when adversity struck? I’d love to hear your stories, please share them. They may help someone struggling to see how to accomplish their dreams. Thanks!
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