Entrepreneur Ryan Lockheart has recently been presented with a special award for his innovative new enterprise. Lockheart's Emergency Kebabs has been operating for eighteen months now, mainly in the Essex region, providing much needed kebabs for people stranded at crap wedding receptions, christenings and other functions.
A country pub at the arse-end of nowhere
"I know only too well the sheer misery of attending some God-awful family do," Lockheart explains. "Weddings, christenings, birthdays - too many people squeezed into some grimy yellow function room in a country pub at the arse-end of nowhere. The disco's too loud, the beer's too warm, the people are irritating and there's nowhere you can escape to.
"The only thing you've got to look forward to is the buffet, but ninety-nine percent of the time it turns out to be nothing more substantial than a few curly sandwiches, some shrivelled-up sausages impaled on cocktail sticks and a series of unidentifiable pastry things filled with some variety of seafood.
"It's at this point, as you look at this pathetic excuse for sustenance, that you realise what you really need is a kebab."
A greasy doner or spicy shish
And that's where Lockheart's company comes in. One call to the 'Kebab Hotline' and a greasy doner or spicy shish can be rushed over to you in a matter of minutes. The scheme has been remarkably successful, but it's not been without its problems.
"Many of our customers are desperate people," Lockheart explains. "By the time they call us they may have already spent three or four hours listening to inane family gossip, and for some there is nothing they won't do in order to escape.
"A lot of them try to bribe our couriers to help them get away, or even use their arrival as a diversionary tactic. Just last week, at a wedding reception in Harlow, one of our guys was threatened with a cocktail stick and forced to exchange clothes with his attacker. The assailant was able to escape in disguise, whilst our man was stranded there for the rest of the night and forced to perform the hokey-cokey with some elderly aunt.
"He's never been the same since."