How far would you go for a slice of your favourite pizza?
For one Greater Victoria resident, it turns out the answer is a little over 3,000 kilometres as the crow flies.
Earlier this month, John Palmer spent nearly $600 to have 10 large pizzas specially prepared and shipped overnight from his hometown of Windsor, Ont. Despite thinking people would judge him crazy for such an extravagance, he has found himself a minor international celebrity in the weeks since the story was first reported.
“I had no idea it would go crazy and that I would be doing national television interviews,” said Palmer. “It’s just been nuts, clearly my 15 minutes of fame has been extended to a full half hour.”
He said food in particular seems to be a common thing humans can relate to, with dozens of people reaching out to him on social media to share their own stories of cravings from home.
While the pizza is certainly a style of its own – made with local cheese, canned, not fresh mushrooms and shredded, not sliced pepperoni and all toppings placed over the cheese – it was really the experience and memories brought up by the pizza which made the effort so worthwhile to Palmer.
“We sat down and cooked one of the pizzas and just had a wonderful evening,” he said. “Remembering old memories of Windsor, talking about all the times we have ordered this pizza, and also enjoying a darn fine pizza.”
The idea to order the pizzas was first sparked in 2020 when a similar story broke out of Parksville, also involving Windsor pizza. That eventually sparked a discussion with his colleague and fellow Windsorite Nigel Couch, after which they decided to split the cost to make it a reality.
First they needed to find a pizza shop in the city, which proved easy enough thanks to Antonino’s Original Pizza. Next came shipping, which the Windsor UPS Store was happy to help with, and it turned out they had experience shipping local pizzas as far as Dubai.
“We were able to identify May 3 as go day. All the pieces came together. The pizza was half-cooked and put in the freezer the night before, my friend showed up to pick up the pizza, drove it with ice packs to the UPS store. The store was holding his driver in order for us to get the pizza packaged properly and put on the truck, which then went to the plane, which then got to me by noon the next day.”
That night, he and his wife sat down with his father and his wife and Palmer’s sister-in-law, but absolutely no kids, and enjoyed both good pizza and plenty of stories of their time in Windsor.
“This isn’t about Windsor pizza being better than Victoria pizza, it’s just a unique flavour for me,” Palmer said.
Overall, the whole experience has been better than he ever could have imagined.
“I feel really great. First off I have really great pizza, and I have extra in the freezer … but on top of that, I also had an opportunity to share a really fun story that highlights the extra steps people will go to help somebody out, a complete stranger.
“I feel really good about being a part of a positive news story.”