Six days a week, Quincy Carr sits in his wheelchair on a concrete island in Oakland, wrangling business for Ramos Furniture in front of signs reading “all must go” and “no reasonable offers will be refused.”
But it wasn’t always this way for the 32-year-old Oakland man, who calls out on a bullhorn to the sea of cars zipping down Hegenberger Road near Oakland International Airport.
A decade ago, he was on track to become a commercial pilot and one day get his instructor’s license to teach other aspiring aviators. That all came to a screeching halt when a dispute at an Oakland barbershop turned violent, leaving him shot multiple times and paralyzed from the waist down.
But on Monday, an Oakland firefighters’ charity, city officials and even retired Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger presented Carr with a scholarship to help on his quest to get back in the cockpit of a Cessna 172 and teach others how to fly.
“My passion is flying,” he said. “And if you’re not doing your passion, what are you doing?”
The idea to present Carr with the award came six months ago when Oakland police Sgt. Clay Burch wondered about the man he’d see every day working along Edgewater Drive in the shadow of the Oakland airport BART extension.
One day while on a break, Burch approached Carr and asked about his story. He soon learned that 10 years ago Carr had been getting his hair cut and intervened when he saw man assaulting a woman.
That man left the barbershop, only to return with a gun. The gunman shot Carr five times, including a bullet in the spine that took his ability to walk, Burch said.
“Quincy was a victim of violent crime,” Burch said. “He’s a special young guy, and he shared with me that he wanted to become a flight instructor.”
Carr never quit flying, and when he finds time, he pilots a retrofitted Cessna with hand-rudder controls instead of the usual foot pedals. But his job with the furniture store and the one day a week he plays piano at a Union City hotel make finding the time and money to complete his instructor certification nearly impossible.....Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Gift-puts-paralyzed-Oakland-pilot-s-dream-is-10599496.php#photo-11768460
Evan Sernoffsky is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @EvanSernoffsky