Publix reacts to New Port Richey man Jay Ambrozia trapped 4 days in car

4:45 PM, May 7, 2013   |    comments
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New Port Richey, FL -- He survived in his car for four days, eating nothing but snacks.

On Tuesday 90-year-old Jay Ambrozia is recovering from broken bones he says he got in a spill at a local Publix store.

Ambrozia is busted up, but said to be in good spirits. He's a WWII vet and very independent, but friends say he'll likely need some help after this.

Neighbor Vivian Burnett says she had a chance to visit Ambrozia in his hospital room. He had been stuck in his car for four days, surviving on the snacks he'd just purchased at a local Publix.

"He's very coherent and everything and he's spunky. He's still spunky," said Burnett.

Ambrozia tells neighbors he tripped and fell at the grocery story. Stor employees helped him to his car and he was able to drive home. He did pull over once, when his leg went numb. Once he got home, though, it was too painful to get out of the car.

At 86, Ken Bosies can sympathize. He shops at the same Publix store. But he carries a cell phone and occasionally wears a life call button around his neck.

"If I fall down and I can't get to the phone, it's around my neck and I just push the button and I got it," said Bosies.

Ambrozia apparently had neither device. He laid on the car horn until it went dead, shouted to the letter carrier and people passing by. He raised the garage door when it was daylight, closed it at night time, and kept count of the days by laying Fig Newtons on his dashboard. His hip and arm are busted.

"Otherwise, he looked really good," said Burnett.

A Publix spokesperson says they're doing what you might expect at this point: reviewing video tape and interviewing people who were working at the store that day.

Spokesman Brian West says they also reached out to Mr. Ambrozia and his family, but would not say what the substance of those conversations has been.

Ambrozia says he's already had two visitors from Publix. "Wow," he told a friend, rolling his eyes. "Those people."

Customers we spoke with have mixed feelings about the supermarket chain's role and responsibility.

Sid Higley said, "What are you gonna do? If he says he's fine, there's not really much you can do about it."

But his wife Nancy disagreed.

"No, that would not be the best thing to do, no. Because they don't know. They can't make that call. Someone says they're fine, but they don't know," she said.

Friends say Ambrozia has been resting comfortably. His family lives out of state, but again even at 90, they say he's very independent.

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