After Urgent Plea, Owner of a Struggling Pizzeria Has More Business Than He Can Handle
Craig Boncler of Sicily Pizza & Pasta needed to boost business to pay for his three sons’ insulin treatments, and the public response was overwhelming.
After a Facebook plea for more business, Craig Boncler has found himself facing an overwhelming demand for his pizzas at Sicily Pizza & Pasta in Houston.
In what he thought was “the worst commercial ever,” a struggling pizzeria owner with three diabetic sons issued a desperate Facebook plea for help—and the public has responded with warmth and generosity. Now he needs help just keeping up with the demand for his pizzas.
According to WFAA, Craig Boncler, owner of Sicily Pizza & Pasta in Houston, Texas, has seen business dwindle thanks in part to construction on nearby U.S. 290. Even as he struggled to make ends meet—and to make payroll—Boncler found himself falling behind on his mortgage and car loan and faced the loss of his house. But the worst blow came when his youngest son, Timothy, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Boncler’s two older sons, Michael and Christopher, were already dealing with the disease, which requires daily insulin at a cost of more than $200 a month with insurance. Additionally, Christopher has pituitary dwarfism and requires artificial growth hormones to help him grow, WFAA reports.
With his supply of insulin about to run out and no money coming in, Boncler posted an urgent plea on his personal Facebook page. “I hate doing this,” he wrote. “I’m in a lot of trouble. Due to various reasons—some within my control, some not—my restaurant is in a downward spiral.”
Explaining that he could no longer afford to cash his own paychecks from the restaurant and that he was down to a one-week supply of insulin for his sons, he asked people to “please consider having a meal at my restaurant. And tell your friends. Tell everybody. Have more than one meal. We have a huge menu to choose from, and it’s all good food at a reasonable price.”
“I’m more than willing to earn the money to pay my bills, and I firmly stand behind my product,” he added. “Please help. My boys and I are depending on it … PS – I know. This is like the worst commercial ever.”
It turned out to be the opposite. Boncler’s post quickly went viral, receiving more than 6,600 shares and 1,274 comments from well-wishers as far away as Australia. One friend set up a Youcaring crowdfunding campaign that has generated more than $19,000 (with a $50,000 goal). Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $8,000 (also with a $50,000 goal).
As word of the Boncler family’s plight spread, customers began pouring into Sicily Pizza and Pasta. By June 8, Boncler had to ask for experienced volunteers to come in and help him handle all the new business. “We are overwhelmed by the public response to what started out as a call for support from our neighborhood,” a Facebook post from Sunday, June 11, read. “People have come from as far away as Dallas! Now we have a bigger problem … we have a small army of people who need to be fed, and not enough people to feed them.”