Teen Has to Get a Job to Help Provide for His Family at 13 – Years Later, Something Unexpected Reminds Him of His Forgotten Dream
Carl Allamby proves that hard work is the key to success. Becomes attending physician at Cleveland Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital.
It’s never too late to start chasing your dreams. One long-time auto mechanic proved that age can be an advantage, rather than an obstacle.
Carl Allamby grew up in Cleveland, Ohio alongside his four siblings. He recalls an early memory of seeing Denzel Washington playing a doctor in the 80’s TV series St. Elsewhere. This role sparked an idea in young Carl’s head — he wanted to study medicine and become a doctor.
Why One Auto Mechanic Decided to Become a Doctor at 51
In Carl’s childhood years, his family didn’t have much. At as young as 13-years-old, Carl had to get a summer job to help pay for school supplies, clothes and even food. At age 15, he got a job at an Italian restaurant where he eventually became a line cook.
As soon as Carl graduated high school, he began working at an auto repair shop. He worked his way up the ladder for years and years before buying the whole place and calling it ‘Allamby’s Auto Service.’
At age 34, Carl felt like he hit a wall with his business. He was living comfortably but he knew he could accomplish so much more. He decided to enroll in a four-year business program at Ursuline College to take his auto shop to the next level.
One of the requirements of his degree was a biology course. Carl put it off for as long as possible as he felt it wasn’t going to help him with his shop. When he finally arrived, the class brought back his childhood dream of becoming a doctor. “When I took the biology class, it was just phenomenal. I loved it from the moment that I first walked in there,” Carl said. He went home immediately after to tell his wife he was going to pursue medicine.
With his family’s approval, Carl shifted his focus and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science. By 2015, he had started medical school. At med school, Carl was by far the oldest student. When he walked in his classmates would sit up and introduce themselves. “Then, they’d ask me if I was the professor,” he said. They’d be surprised when he explained that he was “one of them.”
How One Man Proved It’s Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams
Instead of viewing it negatively, Carl felt like his age was an advantage. “Younger students are dealing with much different circumstances … but I was very focused. I knew how to stay focused on the task in front of me.” Carl said, “There’s some internal stigma that kind of sticks with you when you’re an older person, that you’re an older person. But my philosophy has always been to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. And the more I can put myself into uncomfortable situations, the more I can grow.”
Carl graduated from medical school at age 47 and at age 51 was hired as an attending physician at Cleveland Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital. He believes there’s more similarities between mechanics and doctors than people think.
“I know when I show up in the hospital that people are looking at me to be somebody who they can rely on to take care of their health needs and to give them guidance. But I’ve been dealing with that for a long time,” he said. “Back in the automotive industry, it was interestingly similar, because people put that same kind of trust and those same kinds of responsibilities on me when it came to taking care of the car.”
Carl Allamby hesitates to call himself exceptional. He believes he actualized his dream through hard work over a long period of time rather than some special talent. His ups and downs and life experience shaped him into the doctor he is today.