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This article was published 21/6/2010 (4146 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
She was a film star known for her irresistible scent, a fixture in the Exchange District and just outside Canad Inns Stadium.
But the morning the famous Goldies Fries truck headed toward the first Winnipeg Blue Bombers' pre-season game of 2010, the ubiquitous fry cart was history -- the victim of a crash that claimed both her mechanical life and the livelihood of owner Darryl Leiman.
On Monday, Leiman wiped tears from his eyes with a crumpled napkin as he stood in front of a humble hotdog cart he'll now be using to try to rebuild his business.
He was on his way to the football game nine days ago when a 19-year-old woman crashed into the truck at Ellice Avenue and Erin Street. The truck, a 1974 International, was totalled.
"It was just like a nightmare," said Leiman, 54.
"My life has changed in two seconds."
Since 1988, Leiman has built up a steady customer base, who came to his truck near Old Market Square. He proudly calls himself the "french fry guy" and has nicknamed his truck 'Betsy,' regaling the days she starred in the 2004 Canadian television film Zeyda and the Hitman.
Manitoba Public Insurance offered him $2,500 for the truck, but he said the years of labour he's put into the truck is worth far more.
The truck and its equipment will cost at least $30,000 to replace, he said.
"I just want my life back. I just want to rebuild, that's all," he said.
"This is just like a lightning bolt. It just hits you."
Police said the woman who crashed into Leiman's truck went through a red light and complained the sun was in her eyes.
The crash has led to financial disaster, said Leiman.
"I have no benefits. I don't have a nice, steady government job," he said, adding his life was "washed away" with the crash and his regular income was gone. "I do it because I like being down here with the public."
MPI spokesman Brian Smiley said people who disagree with the worth of the vehicle have "certain room" to negotiate with adjusters.
"Some people have sentimental value for a vehicle and then obviously, from our perspective, we're looking at a book value," he said.
Leiman's not giving up.
He said he's happiest when serving fries -- made from red potatoes grown by a Hutterite farm -- to a big lineup outside the truck. This week, fries were off the menu as Leiman stood in the rain selling hotdogs with a borrowed cart.
"I don't want to break down right now, but this has been very difficult for me," he said.