Phil Margolis sat in his car, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel of his ’92 Ford Taurus. It was hot. 102 degrees in the valley.
Phil was waiting in the North Hollywood KFC drive-thru in the middle of the summer and he was not a happy camper.
His mostly non-functional A/C was on full blast but he was still sweating his ass off.
“C’mon! What’s the fuckin’ hold up?” he thought to himself. “They must have hired a bunch of retards in there or something!”
This made him laugh. Retards workin’ the register. No wonder it was taking so long.
Then he thought of his sister’s kid, Kevin and stopped laughing.
It had been almost seven minutes at this point, what the hell was going on in there?
He thought about beeping as he craned his head to see if he could catch a glimpse of the situation inside of the restaurant, when he saw the reason for the delay.
The men held large guns and wore masks. One of them was behind the counter with a guy who looked like the manager. He fumbled with the register and the gunman grew impatient, jabbing him in the ribs with the butt of his gun.
The rest of the employees and customers were seated on the floor against the wall. A few of the masked men held them at gunpoint.
Holy shit. A robbery. It didn’t seem real.
Phil felt like he was watching a movie or something.
He looked around, nobody had seemed to notice outside the restaurant.
He grabbed for his cellphone, but as he was about to dial 911, he stopped.
What good would that do? Who knows when the hell the cops would get here. Fuckin’ cops.
Either the perps would be long gone, or they’d get caught up in a firefight with the police officers. Or worse: it would devolve into some sort of hostage situation.
And then how many people would be dead?
No, it was best if Phil handled this himself.
He looked around in his car for a weapon. Usually, he kept a baseball bat handy, in case some punks tried to “jack” him, but his wife had made him take it out just last week, after he threatened that kid with the motor scooter.
“Damnit, Peg!” he yelled.
Then Phil slapped himself on the forehead as he realized he had stupidly missed the fact that he had been holding a weapon in his hands this whole time.
A 3000-pound weapon, molded from the finest steel Detroit had to offer.
Phil hit his turn signal and pulled his car out of the drive-thru lane. He backed up until he was perpendicular with the restaurant.
He had about 25 feet to get his speed up before he hit the side of the building. He was gonna have to floor it.
Phil imagined his car careening through the side of the building, coming to rest on the skulls of those filthy criminals.
Meanwhile, inside, the gang, realizing this was not going to be the lucrative transaction they had hoped for, decided to make a break for it.
They had $123.46 in cash. That was about 20 bucks each. They decided to call it a loss and be on their way. Besides the manager getting roughed up a little, nobody had been hurt.
Just as they were about to leave, the lookout saw the beat-up Ford heading for the building.
“Oh shit!” was all he managed to get out before the entire restaurant was filled with shards of shattered glass.
The criminals managed to miss most of it, as the brunt of the flying glass was absorbed by a group of small children sitting on the floor by the condiment station.
Phil’s car had gone through the main doors and over the counter, pinning the manager against a wall and knocking over the main fryer.
As he took his last breaths, his body nearly severed in half by Phil’s front bumper, the manager noticed that he couldn’t feel the flames rising up his leg.
The front entrance had been a load-bearing wall. The force of Phil’s car impacting it had been enough to jarr the roof, which was in the process of collapsing just as all six of the criminals managed to slip out the door.
The only other survivor that day was Phil himself. He was able to extricate himself from his car, the frame of which had survived the roof falling on it and shimmy his way out of the rubble.
Ignoring the cries of the wounded, in order to “make sure he was able to get help”, Phil walked out into the sunlight nearly unscathed.
The others were not so lucky.
Later, the coroner would determine that nearly everyone but the manager had survived the initial impact, even the kids who had been showered with glass, but later died from the flames started by the over-turned fryer.
Sadly, this tragedy could have been prevented had Phil only spent an extra three seconds of his time reaching his arm out to hit the emergency sprinkler button on the wall.
In fact, when he was crawling out of the debris, he had taken extra care to go around this wall, for reasons unknown to anyone but himself.
“Don’t worry, I’m fine!” Phil announced to the arriving police and firemen.
When they realized what he had done, the lead officer on duty had slapped Phil so vigorously, he missed nearly three days of work due to his injuries.
Luckily for him, the resulting bad publicity for the police department led to all the charges against Phil Margolis being dropped.
Of course, this didn’t stop him from suing the city for gross negligence and a violation of his civil rights. He didn’t get rich, but he did manage to bankrupt the school system.
So, all in all, things worked out pretty well for ol’ Phil and that’s why he’s my hero.