Driving through a neighboring town on a Friday evening, I spotted the local ambulance parked in front of a small restaurant. “They must have great food, and probably cheap,” I told my wife.
“How do you know that?” She asked.
“EMS people don’t eat anywhere bad, or expensive,” I told her. “It’s like the old cliché on how cops know where the best coffee and doughnuts are.”
We always ate good back in the day when I did my time on an ambulance. The group of us that typically covered the Saturday 11-7 shift in the late 1970s were all young guys, growing boys with healthy appetites. Down the block from our squad room was a bar called Kelly’s that also made fantastic pizza. Occasionally, someone would place a takeout order and fail to pick it up. When that happened, our phone would ring. Upon answering, a deep guttural voice would immediately begin talking with no pleasantries or discussion. “It’s Kelly. Got a pie for you. Come get it.” We’d jump in the rig and run down and he would give us whatever pizza had not been picked up. You never knew what it would be, what toppings, etc. But we got it for free. You couldn’t beat it.
Along with the Saturday 11-7 shift, we would regularly take the 7 a.m. to 12 noon shift on Sunday morning so we could sleep in if we didn’t get a run. When we finally got up at 9:30 or 10 a.m., we’d take the ambulance and go to breakfast at a nearby Friendly’s restaurant where they liked us. We’d take our time and enjoy a nice leisurely breakfast. There was an ulterior motive to this beyond good food. If we got a run while eating breakfast, obviously we would have to leave. When we returned, they would give us a new breakfast, but we’d only be charged for one. We didn’t get the two for one every week, since we couldn’t predict our calls, but we got it often enough that we made sure we were regulars there. Cops like donut shops. We liked just about anything.