Blazing Ambition

A brilliant culinary student named Bill Parks climbed on the bus to Phoenix. He was dead tired and looking forward to a long sleep. It takes nearly 19 hours to get to Phoenix from Albany, New York.

From his research, Bill had discovered that Phoenix has the best firehouse in the nation. Bill lurched to the back of the bus, stretched out across four seats and closed his eyes. Five minutes later, the driver tugged his shoulder and told him to sit up.  The bus would fill at the next stop. 

Sure enough a woman with a small child took the two seats next to him.  The child was crying.  The child cried all the way to Phoenix. Bill wanted to move to the front but every seat was taken. 

Wide-awake now, he rehearsed what he would say to the fire chief who was scheduled to interview him the next day.  In his pocket he carried the directions to the fire station and the instructions.  He’d been instructed to bring a duplicate copy of his job application and three references from his instructors.  And dress casually.
 
Bill was a super kid.  Handsome as hell.  Charming. Intelligent. Good-natured.  I’d bet him a dollar he would be hired on the spot.  He also was lucky. He’d known he wanted to be a fireman since he was a small boy.  He’d been a volunteer for three years and knew the ropes. Sure he liked to cook but the main reason he’d gone to culinary school to improve his chances of getting into the Phoenix firehouse.  He would be the firehouse chef as well as a fire fighter.
 
When I saw Bill in the classroom the following week, he told me I owed him a dollar.  I’d lost the bet.  He didn’t even have the interview.  The firehouse chief told him to get back on the bus. 

He’d worked for weeks to earn the $466.00 for the bus fare, the overnight stay at a cheap hotel and a spiffy new suit, shirt, tie and shoes. 

He didn’t get the interview because he hadn’t followed the instructions. He’d been instructed to dress casually.

According to the fire chief, a fireman who doesn’t follow instructions endangers his own life, the lives of his team and the people he’s trying to save.

Bill Parks’s dream went up in flames.