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The Price Of Friendship: A Down Payment of $500

(Image of Brian and I at the Fort Lauderdale Beach--> post donut event)

It is hard to imagine how a fire at Dunkin Donuts resulted in a lifelong friendship. During my sophomore year of college, Brian (my best friend, but not then) and I went to a donut shop by campus to study. In a time when corona referred to a beer and masks were only worn on Halloween, I could study at a coffee shop with my only worry being if they had a fresh Strawberry Iced Donut. I knew Brian from my involvement with Hillel. Both Brian and I were active in the Jewish community. I was in awe of how Brian would seem so sophisticated. He would always understand my obscure references (mainly musical theater), and I would ask him about his a cappella group (whom I later called the acafellas).

(Brian and his college Acapella Group)

Brian was doing a quiz, and then he had to go to the restroom. As I returned to reading, a fire broke out. One of the toasters caught fire, and we were forced to evacuate. Brian wouldn't be able to grab his things. So I took his computer and put my phone in between and ran out of there. This toaster debacle was quite common. Brian emerged from the bathroom and asked what happened. I told him the story and, to my horror, realized my phone shattered his screen. I felt so bad and offered to pay for the damages. After going to the local You-Break-I -Fix, I had to pay $500 to replace his screen.

(Gif courtesy of

I think any normal person would stay away from the person who caused their property damage. But, Brian is not normal. He got into his car and laughed at the absurdity of the situation. In retrospect, I am shocked how the store did not close down afterward, given the constant threat of a fire.

(Brian and and I a few months after the donut shop fire at the best Thai Te shop in Orlando Krunthep Tea in Winter Park)

Since that day, Brian and I have been best friends. He has been a constant in my life as we continue to grow as leaders and people. Brian became my almost twin as we would always be at Hillel studying, gossiping, or advising each other. Brian and I became inseparable until we graduated college. After college, Brian moved to New York to work in Journalism, and I moved into my childhood bedroom. I was nervous that our friendship would fall apart due to geography. But, that was not the case. Brian and I talk every day. Since Brian moving to New York, I have been in awe of the man he is today. Brian is a mid-level journalist, loyal boyfriend, dog dad, and bonafide New Yorker. As he takes on the Big Apple, I am in Chapel Hill studying Strategic Communications.

(Brian and his boyfriend Victor in NYC 2021)

Since that day in 2017, when someone asks me, " Rachel, how much is a friendship?" I always say, " $500 downpayment but a priceless experience afterward."


Victor DeBianchi
Victor DeBianchi

I love this story!

Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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