It was a hell of a day. The day began like any other day; Chef Noah & me racing to stock the truck and working quickly to get downtown, for what was sure to be a busy lunch. The morning begins to come together. Noah finally arrives to our reserved meter, eager to get lunch ready for the crowd. And it is a crowd: 150 people over the course of two hours! This is a wild lunch for any food truck, but we are happy and feeling great. We don’t run out of any food, every guest leaves satisfied, and we receive two 5 STAR Reviews.
We take a breath, clean the truck, check inventory, and head to our next location. We are feeling great about the day and positive about the evening ahead. We are catering a private event for 80 children and 60 adults. We are happy to be 3 hours ahead of schedule, heading down I-65. I am happy about getting the Mac & Cheese going, mostly so I can snag a bite, as it is my guilty pleasure! Suddenly, I smell something burning, thinking it is one of the large semi-trucks zooming past us down the highway. Soon the smell gets to be too much and Noah pulls over to assess the situation. We are now on the side of the highway with 2 hours left until the event. Noah sees smoke coming from the front right, passenger side, tire. WTF! I begin to panic, because this is what I am good at doing. OMG…what are we going to do, how are we going to feed the kids?
We have reached out to everyone we know, trying to figure out what might be going on. Noah has come to the conclusion that the caliber on the tire has frozen (my apologies if I don’t put this into words correctly). I learn that if you drive the truck any further (Note: we are less than 7 miles from our destination), you risk it catching fire and then you are doomed. What do we do? I get on the phone with #2 of the Six Sisters, shoot, no answer. Next, move to #4 of the sisters, also a mother of two! Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. My heart is beating rapidly and we have come to the conclusion that Noah will cook on the side of this expressway and I will get someone to come pick me up to transport food and setup. Sister #4 isn’t an option so I move on to see what Sister #6 is up to. She is a junior at Assumption and school is out. She is napping. I ask Sister #4 to wake her, ask her to let her know I will pay $100 if she comes and picks myself and food up for 140 people and assists me in making this evening happen. She accepts the invitation and my heartbeat finally begins to slow down! As she is traveling to our destination, we decide that we think we can make it to the next exit and park in a safer location.
We have made it to the Kohl’s parking lot and the generator has been fired up, along with the stove and flattop. This is it, we are making this happen in this parking lot. Sister #6, we will now call her Sophie, has arrived and is still waking up from her nap. I tell her to get in the passenger seat and lets roll. We are going to deliver setup for the catering and she is going to need to come back here to get food from Chef Noah. We now have an hour and a half until show time.; its crunch time!
I attempt to gather my thoughts on how I will lay out the display. We unload the vehicle and I send Sophie back to the truck to retrieve the first round of food for the party. We have 45 minutes until service time. The food arrives on location about 25 minutes before service. We have everything we need with the exception of enough lemonade; this is the first item that runs low! Hell, always something is an understatement. All guests are served hot, delicious food and they are raving about the Pulled Chicken and Mac N Cheese (side note: I never got the smallest bite).
The service has come to an end and its time for cleanup. We did it; we made it! There are numerous sighs of relieve. Everyone ate and everyone was pleased! I cannot stop thanking Sophie! We pack up her Honda CRV and head back to the parking lot to check on Chef Noah. He has had two hours to do nothing but clean; the man truly knows how to utilize all his time! We are waiting for my brother in law and grandfather to arrive and review the tire situation. It is a Friday night and we have a shift we have to be at the next morning. We cannot leave the truck in the parking lot, clean out all the coolers, and expect it to be fixed in time to travel to LaGrange.
Everyone arrives, they remove the tire and some sort of magic occurs! The tire is put back on and Noah takes a trip around the lot. No smoke, no smell. Really? Sophie and I hop in her car and we all decide to follow Noah back to our building, as it appears the tire is in working order, at least for a short period of time. Amazing, he makes it back to our building. It is late so I send Sophie home.
I tell Noah to go chat with the guys, and that I can finish up closing the truck for the night. They chat about the tire as I begin to unload catering items from the truck. It’s my second load and the comfort of my bed is so close! I step off the back of the truck, chaffing dishes in hand and BAM! My whole body lands on my right ankle, which lands on a rock. Down Goes H! I let out a loud scream, “Noah…HELP!” The Guys run to the back of the truck to find serveware, chaffing dishes and myself lying on the ground. The guys think I have been stabbed by a knife! While this is not the case, I am in a large amount of pain. They ask if I want to go to the ER. “Hell NO, I want to go home.” They grab a bag of Frozen corn, carry me to the back of the truck, set me up to calm down for a bit and Noah finishes the cleaning.
We finally make it home about an hour later. Between the adrenaline and exhaustion my ankle doesn’t feel so bad but I can feel it swelling at a rapid rate. The night is tough but I manage to get some rest. I awake the next morning ready to move through my morning routine. I step out of bed and begin to wobble to the bathroom. “BAM! Down Goes H Again!” Noah jumps up to see what is wrong. He quickly decides that I am not working today. If you know me, you know it is hard for me to miss a food truck shift, but on this particular day, I simply had no choice. Noah and one of my good friends take one for the team. They work through the day successfully, while I monitor the POS from home.
While, two weeks later, I am still not 100% and the swelling is still there, I am back on the truck, moving around and only allow myself to be immobile for a few hours at the end of the day. I may have not been superstitious before, but now I will think trice about the 13th in future years. This might have been the hardest day, to date, on the truck, for both Noah and myself. Challenges are something that helps us thrive, but hell, this was one for the books.