Endeavour: Shark tank cleaner finds himself on shuttle duty
Chris Wade started his Friday feeding the sharks and the stingrays in the 188,000-gallon display tank at the California Science Center.
By lunchtime, he’d waded into a different environment -- the thick mob of spectators lining the streets as the retired shuttle Endeavour made its 12-mile roll toward its final resting spot at the center.
Wade, a dive safety officer and senior collector at the museum, is one of the volunteers and staffers from the science center who turned out to ensure the shuttle had a smooth passage as it purred along the street at 2 mph.
“This builds life-long passions and lets them live out their dreams,” Wade said of the children who came to watch the towering shuttle navigate its way through LA. “I’m one of the lucky ones; I get to live out my dream, and hopefully they can too,” he said.
Carlos Barajas, manager of the family-owned Tumby’s Pizza in Inglewood, also had his working day radically altered by Endeavour.
The pizza joint shut down for the day, and he invited friends and family to swing by to watch the enormous spacecraft go by.
He said he got a two-week heads up that the electricity would be take down so the transmission lines could be hoisted to clear the route for the shuttle.
“Everybody is worried about the economy; this lets people’s mind go somewhere else,” he said.
Their neighbor, Manchester Lock and Security, had better luck. They had electricity because their lines didn’t cross the route.
“I’m lucky. We do a lot of outside service calls; I need my phones,” said owner Kevin Morris. “We have a full crew; it’s business as usual."
Getting to his store? That was another matter.
A small price to pay, he said.
--Adolfo Flores in Westchester
Photo: People crowd in front of the space shuttle Endeavour before it makes its way to a permanent home at the California Science Center. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times.