Kelly Traylor is tired of her hospital bed.
“I think it’s going to come to the point where I have to put Christmas lights up,” she said with half-hearted chuckle.
The 25-year-old has been in St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg since Oct. 22. She needed back surgery after being injured while participating in firefighter training at the Manatee Technical College fire academy.
“I knew that I had hurt myself again but I denied it,” she said, recalling how she tried to convince herself that she was just sore from intense training. “I probably looked like a twisted pretzel.”
After an 8 a.m. workout, she started having difficulty moving her legs. By 5 p.m., she couldn’t move at all. She needed a spine procedure that would confine her to a hospital bed. Her dream of being a firefighter was over because of the injury. The walls and her situation felt sad.
Then, the pizza arrived.
The Florence Township Fire Department, nearly 1,100 miles from Traylor’s hospital bed, saw her social media post on Instagram, telling her tale and announcing to the world that she was stuck in the hospital recovering.
They contacted her and offered to buy her pizza.
“Speechless,” she said. “I mean what do you say to something like that other than thank you?”
The firefighters called Pizza Box, just a short drive from the hospital, and ordered Traylor’s favorite pie. The owner, Adam Duff, hand-delivered the meal.
“None,” he said with smile when asked how many calls his business receives from New Jersey. “This one was a little different but we definitely had to step it up. No matter what for Kelly, absolutely.”
The entire experience helped cheer up the EMT. Even though doctors don’t expect Traylor to be able to pursue her firefighting dream because of her injuries, she is thrilled to see that other first responders are sticking up for her.
“Regardless of the situation or the pain or the outcome of a circumstance you are still part of that family,” she said. “When I’m out of here I’ve got a lot of thank you cards and pizzas to order for other people.”
Probably, from Pizza Box.