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Discovery rewards vendor's actions during hostage-taking

Isidro Cabrera was given a modern new hot dog cart by Discovery to thank him for what a company spokesman called "his heroism."
Isidro Cabrera was given a modern new hot dog cart by Discovery to thank him for what a company spokesman called "his heroism." (Rachel Fus)

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Discovery Communications chief executive, David Zaslav, and Leavy stepped forward to thank Cabrera for his help while the camera crew circled them. West Coast Customs employees quietly wheeled in the new cart behind Cabrera, who turned around. All he could feel was shock, he said.

The cart, which is about 10 feet tall, is emblazoned with a large "Augie's Doggies" logo, designed especially for Cabrera. It is a glossy maroon and has awnings that pull up in front and back. Each side features a television and speakers. The cart also is equipped with a DVD player and Xbox game console, a barbecue grill, carafes for hot coffee and a small refrigerator for drinks. A lever pulls up a big "Augie's Doggie's" logo at the top of the cart.

West Coast Customs founder and chief executive, Ryan Friedlinghaus, said he worked with a five-person crew for about two weeks to create the cart.

"The first goal was to make it an experience, so he can have fun while he works," said Friedlinghaus, who calls Cabrera "a local hero.''

The hot dog cart was the first Friedlinghaus has built, he said, adding that he approached the project as if he were building a car for one of his celebrity clients.

Cabrera said he probably won't start using the new cart until the first week of March. Before that, he wants to find an employee to run his old cart at a new location. He will have the same menu in the new cart but plans to add items. Because the new cart has electricity, he said he is considering adding a blender to make natural juice drinks, as well as hamburgers.

"It's very nice," Cabrera said. "I just want to thank David and everyone at Discovery."

The episode of "Inside West Coast Customs" featuring Cabrera will air in early April, producers said.

After the filming and interviews were over, Cabrera walked back behind his old hot dog cart and served everyone hot dogs, still smiling.


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