This story starts with this picture I found from 1980, I was only 8 then. It is proof that my dad loved to cook and of all things, PIZZA!!! (one might say it’s in my blood,…) FAST FORWARD… The time is now Spring Break 1988, I just received my license a month prior. My buddies and I are going cruising downtown Palm Springs on our motorcycles, mini-trucks, on or in whatever!!! One afternoon we stopped by this local pizza joint on the strip, then called MAMA LUCCI’S and THAT IS WHERE I ATE MY FIRST SLICE OF NEW YORK HEAVEN!!! MMMMMMM…
With Spring Break now over, my dad, who was then Palm Spring’s -‘Chief Building Inspector’ had to go out and do an inspection on a Saturday over at Mama Lucci’s ??? COINCIDENCE – IDK??? He asked me if I wanted to go and of course a chance to spend time with DAD… So while he was inside talking to the owner , this big flashy, New York accented guy named Phil( kinda reminds you of GOODFELLA‘S ) I was just wandering around the joint looking at all the cool things like the 50qt. mixer, the huge ovens, everything simply amazed me… I felt so at home!!! I started talking to his nephew who was his right hand man, he said they needed help and if I would be interested???
I SAY AGAIN – ‘COINCIDENCE’ or DESTINY???
So this Saturday began my future…!!! Phil had owned it, lost it, owned it, sold it etc… over the next 5 years… he finally sold to a fellow worker named Fernando, he owned it 2 years and sold it to Mr. & Mrs. Campbell, they owned it over the next 3 years and that is when my turn finally popped up!!! I had worked off and on thru those ten years and all the different owners. When I had heard the news that day that the CAMPBELL’S were putting it up for sale, I jumped on my motorcycle and nearly broke the land speed record getting to my moms house!!! I was sooo excited!!! When I got there to tell her the news she was even more excited than I was!!! She said, “FINALLY, MY BABY!!!” and with the biggest smile ever!!! About a week or two later, I was the new owner of what is now know known as “NEW YORK PIZZA DELIVERY” or “N.Y.P.D. Pizza” this all took place in 1998 and still going 15 years later…( now under new owner ship with a full bar!!!)
So I started N.Y.P.D. in 1998 it was the greatest feeling ever, to own your own business on the strip of downtown Palm Springs… I did a remodel of the store in about three weeks and then INSTANT SUCCESS we were blowing up the place, everyone loved us, the number one sensation, the new local hangout!!! Life could not be any better, Right??? In 2001 this place on Washington came up for sale and for only $15 k. It was on the other side of the valley, about 20 miles or so… but as soon as I mentioned it to my family they insisted, so now #2 N.Y.P.D. on the way… WHAT A RUSH… owning 2 stores free and clear, both successful, what else could I ask for – right??? (WAIT…NOT YET!!!)
I have to say the BEST part about both stores IS and WAS the CUSTOMERS, MY FELLOW NEIGHBORS/OWNERS and MOST IMPORTANT the EMPLOYEES…
I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS MOMENT TO THANK EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!!! THAT WAS THE GREATEST 10 YEARS OF MY LIFE!!!
So around 2003 is when this guy came to me and wanted to buy the P.S. store, I immediately said no, a few months later he came back and made another offer, this guy was serious… but I still said no!!! My girlfriend at the time, was trying to tell me if I do this, that I would be able to start my dream a lot faster which was: to open N.Y.P.D.’S all over the valley and beyond… I told her if he comes back with my crazy counteroffer then it is of course DESTINY right??? Which of course a few months later, now 2004 he did!!!
Now with that store sold I did a complete remodel on the Palm Desert store. We were always busy, great customers and of course my employees are what made it for me…
Around three years later this couple did the same thing, hounding me to want to buy it…
This guy was supposedly a master chef, a long haired biker looking fellow? IDK – LONG HAIR/CHEF??? My girlfriend says, look, it’s destiny knocking on your door again, if you sell this store you can begin your dream, with two now up and running… I would now go out and basically start my own NYPD FRANCHISE… well at least that was the plan!!! How many times does destiny knock on one’s door right, just curious??? So we began escrow, nice & smooth… then all of a sudden they do a 180 and want to change everything from the selling price, to a list of demands, this, that, all right in middle of escrow!!!
DID I MENTION THE BUYER’S WIFE WORKED FOR A ESCROW COMPANY…???
I was also told her family even owned a ESCROW COMPANY here in the valley? IDK??? So this went on back and forth for about three or four months, she thought she was going to pull a fast one over me because of where she worked, SORRY SISTER…
(I am very sad to say that within 2 years he the master chef was out of business…)
Back to the story, I was right in the middle of escrow, in fact the date was September 8th 2007(09/08/07) That is the date I will never forget. I was working at the Palm Desert store washing dishes and I just looked up at the clock the time was 3:21pm I know you are saying, Rob who cares, get to the point! Right?
Well here you go…987654321(the date & time‘s)
THAT WAS MY LAST MEMORY – BECAUSE BABAAMMMM… PASSED OUT
When I awoke(6:54pm), I was in Eisenhower hospital all hooked up to machines with everyone surrounding me I was freaking out, moving & jumping around, I using very bad language (my apologies to that medical staff) The Doctor came in saying “son you just suffered from a Seizure!” This did not make any sense? I was in perfect health my entire life, never sick, I do not even take Tylenol… All the doc could say is that maybe stress related to the sale of the shop? Until tests come back? But what stress? I owned free and clear a brand new R1(my baby), Porsche Boxter convertible, Jeep 4×4, two bad ass choppers and the two stores sold, WHAT STRESS I SAY?
So a few months later and the sale finally over, we started to go out and scout for new locations then BABAAMMMM, this time a GRAN MAL SEIZURE when I awoke I said “WTF”-This being the polite way… I guess I have a short temper from these PILLS…
Now that this was the second seizure it was time to worry! The only thing that showed up on any test was some scar tissue damage in the upper front left lobe… from a previous accident… I tried to tell the doctor that a week prior to the first seizure I was in Mexico
And suffered a concussion from hitting my head in the ocean on some rocks & swallowed some water there, This is technically the first time I passed out, when I awoke I was throwing up the sea water and had a very bad, even bleeding bump on the back of my head…what about parasites, Mexico beach water? I asked… he immediately said “No, impossible? Just take the PILLS…” then he said 13 words to the day I die I will never forget “SORRY MY FRIEND, YOU WILL JUST HAVE TO LEARN TO LIVE WITH IT” Can you believe a Dr. actually said this??? then he upped the dosage… Needless to say I found a new neurologist, Dr. Young, looks just like George Clooney’s twin brother… He made my MOM, sister and even my GIRLFRIEND, SMILE!!! From the first pills I was on was Dilantin and those just screwed my head up, headaches, stomach issues, etc. this went on for about a year before he changed it to Keppra, which is one of the ones I am still on today. You can ask anyone who knows me from NYPD, that before the seizures started I was the happiest person always laughing, everyone liked me(AT LEAST I HOPE?)
Somewhere in 2009 not having worked for the last couple of years, from doctors orders and doing tests etc… just living off the sale $$$ it was starting to get low.
So going broke living with 4 mini pins and 1 pit bull all by myself in my house, my family decided to move in my nephew to watch over me, plus he would be closer to his work, it worked out for everyone… A VERY BIG THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU TO EVAN!!!
I was going broke and fast, thanks to paying all the medical bills in cash – NO ‘OBAMA CARE’ THEN!!! Starting to worry… I have never been in a position like this before. Just for the record, I was born in Palm Springs, Ca – in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Born a U.S. citizen, I worked from 1988 all the way until 2008, that is 20 years of paying personal taxes and all the business $revenue$ generated and all the taxes paid from those 2 stores and so on…I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND?
Now when I come to ask my state/gov. for help they tell me no, sorry. DENIED! 4 times from 2009 – 2012 with reasons like I had a car & motorcycle registered in my name, SORRY or there was, I owned a couple of acres in the middle of 29 Palms, worth nothing, but I can not be on disability and own anything, SORRY!!! After the third try I retained a lawyer, of course his first attempt failed, the courts said I was not disabled enough that I could be a greeter at wal mart, they actually said that!!!
So now it is October 2014 our second attempt and still awaiting the answer? December 2014 it came back DENIED again??? How does a person go from owning 2 stores, cars, motorcycles, a beach house in Mexico etc… down to having practically have to beg his government for assistance!!! As I mentioned earlier this has been the most humbling experience I have ever faced! Funny thing is that hundreds of illegal immigrants crossing our borders everyday and Mr. Obama sends them 80 million dollars for shelter and to JUST HELP THEM OUT!!! Here I sit, with 3 dogs basically homeless, broke not even a dollar in my pocket! If I did not have the amazing family and ’my honey’ that have had and kept their patience with me, thru this… I can not thank you enough – ‘I love you all!!!’ you r da best…
During the last 7-8 years (now FEB.2015) I done some pretty crazy things! One of the first things I can remember is waking up from a seizure and their was a lump in my left hand… well the next day it started swelling and to hurt??? No holes any where, no cuts I went to E.R. they took a X-RAY it seems I had jabbed a chopstick right thru my left hand right from the palm to the thumb, when the doc. Pulled it out it was a inch and half long broken end of a chopstick… the next crazy incident was I had a seizure and fell out of bed in between the dresser and had chipped a tooth and dislocated my right shoulder and chipped the socket, SO now my shoulder just dislocates just by raising my arm the wrong way or whatever…there only answer was surgery(pins/screws), I am sorry but if I don’t need it I don’t want it… not unless you gonna make me into the NEW 6 BILLION DOLLAR MAN… just kidding!!! I JUST WANT TO GET BACK TO WORK, THESE LAST 7 YEARS HAVE BEEN THE MOST FRUSTRATING, EYE OPENING AND HUMBLING EXPERIENCE I HAVE EVER FACED… I EVEN STARTED TO GO TO ‘THE BRIDGE CHURCH’ TO SEEK HELP FROM THE MAN HIMSELF UP ABOVE… I still sit here trying to figure out what the lesson I was supposed to learn or why did this happen to me??? I just don’t know???
ON CHRISTMAS EVE @ 3:30 am I WENT INTO OVER A 10-15 MIN. LONG GRAN MAL SEIZURE, STARTED TO COUGH UP BLOOD AND COULD NOT BREATHE, MY HONEY CALLED THE PARAMEDICS, WITH THEIR QUICK RESPONSE THEY REVIVED ME LONG ENOUGH TO GET TO THE E.R.
WHO EVER DOES NOT BELIEVE IN SANTA, READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH…
NOW ITS ABOUT 4-4:30 ish BY THE TIME WE ARRIVE AT THE E.R. I HAVE ALL KINDS OF TUBES AND THIS AND THAT, ALL STRAPPED DOWN BUT AT LEAST UNCONSCIOUS… HERE IS SANTA’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE TO ME AT LEAST, THAT NIGHT JUST AS THEY WERE WHEELING ME INTO THE E.R. A NEUROLOGIST WAS JUST GETTING OFF AFTER DOING HIS SURGERY AND SAW ME SEIZING, SO HE DID NOT STOP UNTIL THE NEXT DAY RAN ALL KINDS OF TEST THIS AND THAT – WITHOUT THAT DR. I WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO FINISH THIS STORY…
MORE TO COME SOON… (ALL OF 2015)