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One Metal Pole

Posted November 26th, 2014 at 11:21 AM by Sylvano the Wasabus
A friend of mine almost died and was saved by his arch enemy.

My friend, Iíll call him Keith, came from an immigrant family. He was born here but his parents came from the former Yugoslavia. His parents opened a restaurant and made it their lifeís work. They did well enough to give each kid a restaurant when they retired- theyíd spread to three locations.

I thought Keithís restaurant had a good location. It jutted out into the lake on a narrow spit of land by a very popular beach. Itís a summer holiday place- beautiful lake, swimming, sailing, sometimes even surfing.

But Keith always had a struggle making ends meet. He tried all sorts of things- new menus, new decor- thatís how I met him. I was working for a company doing some work on the building. It really was a beautiful location- lots of windows with gorgeous lake views. I have to admit I never ate there, but their food was probably just fine.

Keith believed that he was struggling because another restaurant was taking all the business. While Keithís place was at the end of this spit of land in the lake, another restaurant was at the foot of the spit. You had to pass it to get to Keithís place. Keith believed everyone went there instead just because it was closer. He used to call it the cheap greasy dump.

I did eat at this other restaurant and yeah, Keith was right, it was because it was closer. They did a French fry take out business and it was nice to eat the hot frees and watch the sunset on the beach. I suppose Keithís place offered fry take out too. But youíd have to go all the way down there to find out. And fries are fries.

Keith tried to make the place more upscale, a sort of dining experience destination. He hired a chef. More people stayed away. Sometimes I would visit him at the restaurant and he would get really mad at the cheap greasy dump. They were ruining his life.

It all changed on one blustery Fall day. Keith was driving out to his restaurant to do the morning opening- he did it himself because finances were tight. There was a metal gate- just a big long metal pole really, and he had to stop his van and get out and swing the pole gate open. Then heíd got back in the van and accelerated towards the restaurant. And thatís when he nearly died.

A gust of wind suddenly turned the pole towards the van Ė it happened so fast, there was no time to react- the pole went into the front of the van, missed the engine and came out into the seating area and impaled Keithís thigh. He threw the vehicle into reverse and backed up, pulling the pole out of his leg. But it had severed a major artery and he began to bleed heavily.

For some reason- he says he doesnít know why- he stopped the van, got out and began to run for help. He didnít get far. He collapsed and blacked out from blood loss. He should have died, but he didnít.

The owners of the other restaurant- the cheap greasy dump- also the children of immigrants- were there opening up their restaurant. They saw Mike drive by just like he did every day, but they also saw him stop and then back up- and then run out, clutching his leg and collapsing. They ran for him. Emergency first aid training came in handy and they stemmed the bleeding and called an ambulance. Keith was rushed to the hospitable and the owners (who were also the workers) at the cheap greasy dump went back to work to prepare for the day.

Keith made a full recovery. Heís not a bad guy. The first day he could move around on his own he drove to the cheap greasy dump restaurant to say thank you. He stayed half the day and discovered some honest decent people much like himself. He had demonized them in his own mind and attributed evil intentions to them, when all they were really trying to do was make a living, just like him. They hadnít even known he hated them.

They became good friends. On his way to open his failing restaurant every morning Keith stopped and had coffee with his new buddies at the cheap greasy dump.

Keith decided to close his restaurant. Not because he didnít want to compete with his new friends, but because the location was no good. Yes it was a nice spot but it was the wrong thing in the right place. People wanted summer take out, not a sit down expensive meal at that location. Connoisseurs didnít want to drive through a throng of beach people and bicycles to get to a fancier restaurant, no matter how nice the view.

One metal pole almost killed him, but he told me that it saved his life. Why didnít he accept that his restaurant was failing? Why did he blame the other restaurant? He had become desperately unhappy, a failure in his own mind, embittered and angry. He has a new restaurant now, and a new attitude. His new restaurant is smaller and unpretentious and heís still struggling but he tries to shrug it off more now. Itís good to be alive, he says, no matter how business is. Sometimes (rarely, because he still works a lot) he and I drive down and get fries from the cheap greasy dump and eat them on the beach.
Total Comments 3


IshMEL's Avatar
Thank you for writing this and sharing it with us. I needed this story today.
Posted November 26th, 2014 at 03:10 PM by IshMEL IshMEL is offline
Tornado's Avatar
Great story, thanks for sharing.
I guess sometimes you have to get impaled to move forward in life.
Posted November 28th, 2014 at 01:42 PM by Tornado Tornado is offline
chas's Avatar
Anger is so fast that its hard to catch up to, before it ruins things.
Posted November 29th, 2014 at 05:22 AM by chas chas is offline
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