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Durham man achieves Krispy Kreme dream

By Martha Quillin
mquillin@newsobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/04/13/55/16pYXL.Em.138.jpeg|199
    Harry Lynch - hlynch@newsobserver.com
    Durham Academy class of 1989 graduate Chris Rosati, center, from Durham, NC, who has lived over three years with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), listens to the welcoming applause Tuesday as he is accompanied by 1989 classmate Shea Breitling, left, and current Durham Academy school head Michael Ulku-Steiner. Rosati was at Durham Academy's Upper School in the presence of nearly 400 students who came out to see and hear Rosati arrive in a Krispy Kreme tour bus to give away more than 85 dozen fresh Krispy Creme doughnuts to students as part of Rosati's Krispy Kreme pay-it-forward caper. Rosati asked that the students go out and collect stories of hope and inspiration to fill the pages of his Inspire MEdia good news network, sharing stories of perseverance and good will.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/04/13/55/GCIgF.Em.138.jpeg|229
    Harry Lynch - hlynch@newsobserver.com
    Chris Rosati, seated, lower right, has photos made with Durham Academy Upper School students Tuesday after his arrival in the Krispy Kreme 1960 tour bus in the background. Rosati is a Durham Academy graduate who gave away more than 85 dozen fresh Krispy Creme doughnuts to students as part of a pay-it-forward caper.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/04/13/55/zEi82.Em.138.jpeg|211
    Harry Lynch - hlynch@newsobserver.com
    Students began passing out Krispy Kreme doughnuts and hats among the 400 Upper School at Durham Academy students who turned out to see and hear Class of 1989 graduate Chris Rosati. Rosati asked that the students go out and collect stories of hope and inspiration to fill the pages of his Inspire MEdia good news network, sharing stories of perseverance and good will.

DURHAM In a speech a few weeks ago at Durham Academy, his high school alma mater, Chris Rosati told students about a sweet dream of his.

He wanted to hijack a Krispy Kreme doughnut delivery truck and, with the cops chasing him, drive around tossing out free confections and cheer. Robin Hood, with baked goods.

The normally jaded teens embraced the idea with such enthusiasm that Rosati – already inclined to mischief – became determined to make it happen.

But every successful dreamer is also a realist, and Rosati knew his chances of getting away with a loaded doughnut truck were pretty slim, especially since he was diagnosed three years ago with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He can still walk, with assistance, but the degenerative neuromuscular disorder, which is ultimately fatal, has slowed him down.

He would need some help.

Rosati, a self-employed marketing consultant, knew what to do. He set up a Facebook page called A Krispy Kreme Heist, where he described his plan. He solicited “likes,” in the hopes that eventually, Winston-Salem-based Krispy Kreme would hear about it, lend him a truck and driver, and give him some doughnuts to give away.

Since he got sick, he explained, “I’m more open than ever to chasing my dreams ... even odd ones like this.”

His story traveled like the scent of Original Glazed hot off the line. Within eight hours, Krispy Kreme corporate officials heard about Rosati’s idea.

“We got in touch with Chris and told him, ‘Don’t steal one of our trucks,’” said Megan Brock, directer of marketing. “We’ll give you the Krispy Kreme Cruiser and a thousand doughnuts.”

The Cruiser is a 1960 Flxible Starliner bus restored and christened last year for the company’s 75th anniversary. Krispy Kreme likes to say it’s one sweet ride that travels the country for promotional events.

Tuesday, its route was chosen by Rosati, who had the driver go to Duke University Medical Center, where he visited a cancer treatment center, a bone marrow transplant facility and the clinic where he gets treatment for his ALS.

After that, it was on to Durham Academy, where 400 high-schoolers had been assembled on the sidewalk without knowing why.

They figured it out when the Cruiser rolled into the parking lot, with its trademark green polka dots and Krispy Kreme bow-tie logo. They screamed and hooted.

“I told y’all to live out your dreams, as dumb as they may be sometimes,” he told the students as he got off the bus.

They would each get a doughnut, he promised, but then he asked a favor. Would some of them take a box, go out into the community and give them away just to see people smile?

“You get 12 chances in that box to make somebody happy,” he said.

Rosati’s wife, Anna, said the couple would use video of the day’s events to inspire others toward random acts of kindness through Rosati’s nonprofit, called Inspire MEdia. Eventually, Anna Rosati said, the couple hope the foundation will be able to help people fund their own uplifting projects.

Quillin: 919-829-8989
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