Running a pop up stall is not easy. Weather is one of the big issues. Weather forecast can only help a little, since no one can really predict the weather in the UK. We can deal with rain, even snow. However, we cannot handle strong winds quite well. 16mph wind played a huge part of the incident. If you haven’t heard of it yet, let me tell you the whole story.
Last Tuesday morning we went for the pop up as usual. However, we spent almost an hour longer than usual to set up the stall. It was difficult to assemble the gazebo and the walls, and impossible to put on the tablecloth because of the wind. After we fought for awhile and planned to pack all the stuffs and go home, we got a little success, the wind finally became weaker. We decided to stay. We finished the rest of the set up and started to heat up all the food, including the infamous curry fishballs and some oil for deep frying. After 30 minutes, just right after serving our first stir5 to a regular customer, I saw few students who stood opposite to our stall were holding each others’ arm and shouted “hang on”. And the next second I heard a scream from Lucia, two of our tables flipped, all the stir5 ingredients flew towards me as well as the pot of boiling fishballs. But at that moment, I can only think of the iPad and the cash box, which are on the same table with the fishballs. As a small business which all funded by ourselves and our families, all I think of is: I had to protect the iPad! I tried to catch the falling iPad, which I did, but I caught something else with my foot at the same time. Most of the curry sauce and fishballs landed on my right leg and went into my socks and shoes. I know I should take them off and pour some water on the burnt area ASAP, however, the wind didn’t stop and blew everything away from our stall. Luckily, when our gazebo started to fly, some of the passing by students, securities and Graham (one of our mentors) helped to stablize the gazebo. After fighting with the strong wind and chasing all our stuffs back, I finally got a moment to take care of my foot, which burnt blisters were already formed.
After the accident, our beloved friends Bobo and Cissie came by to grab their lunch as usual. They were quite shocked to see all of our food was on the floor, and worried about us. They offered us a hand to clean up the mess no matter how dirty it was and how busy they were (they were using their lunch hour to help). Both of them afraid we were hungry and cold, and bought us some hot lunch to warm us up. And Cissie even bought me two pairs of flip-flops just in case. In the middle of cleaning, some regular customers came by and checked if we were fine. Our van driver David, who always drives us to different places for pop up wanted to offer us a free pick up and drop off after he knew about our incident, because he didn't want to make our day worse. At last, we still paid David - with a discounted price :P What we didn’t tell all of them, although that day was so windy and cold, their kindness melted our heart.
The beauty behind the accident is letting Lucia and I know that there are so many people around us and support Pop Up Wok to stay in business. We are really grateful to have so many lovely and caring friends and customers. The incident gives us more motivation to be better, and we will not be beaten by the weather. What doesn’t kill us, make us stronger right? Hope to see you soon :)