Automobile doctor Carl Allamby becomes doctor in his forties

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Akron, Ohio –Whenever his two little daughters play doctor and dream of becoming one one day, 48-year-old master mechanic Carl Allamby is overwhelmed by the feeling of déjà vu.

Did you want to be a doctor?

“Oh yeah,” Carl said.

But it was not realistic.

“Not where I’m from, no. I grew up in East Cleveland which is a very poor city,” Carl said. “We were on welfare. I remember the powdered milk, the government powdered milk.”

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Carl Allamby

CBS News


And because they were so poor, young Carl quickly put his career aspirations aside and instead focused on becoming the best auto mechanic he could be.

“So this is the parts store where I got all my customers from,” Carl said.

So you would work on cars in the parking lot of the parts store?

“Oh, yeah, sometimes until 1 or 2 in the morning,” Carl said.

Eventually he got his own store – and for 15 years he did well. Until the day he decided to shake things up.

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Carl Allamby

Photography Chris Manto


In 2006, Carl enrolled here at the College of Ursulines. His intention was to get a business degree – to help him run his repair shop. But there was 1 obstacle – a biology course. He didn’t understand why he had to take it and he pushed it away as long as possible.

“I’m a business student, what do I care about biology? Carl said. And within the first hour of being there, I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. All these ideas of wanting to be a doctor have come back in force. “

And in short, the automobile doctor is now a doctor-doctor.

Last spring, Carl graduated from Northeast Ohio Medical University – and today he is an emergency medicine resident at the Cleveland Clinic Akron General.

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Carl Allamby at the graduation ceremony.

Photography Chris Manto


By all accounts, Carl is already an exemplary doctor. Partly because, according to his superiors, he worked so long in a garage.

“You would be shocked, in fact I think it’s a part of customer service,” said Dr. Rebecca Merrill.

But can you imagine, right now, going to learn auto mechanics?

“No, but Carl said he would do our oil changes,” she said.

Fortunately, Carl now has more important repairs in mind. But that old car mechanic also knows that whether you’re working under a hood or looking at a hatch, your success depends on how you drive.

“I heard people say, ‘Carl, it’s going to take nine years to become a doctor.’ And I was like, ‘Well, nine years is going to pass anyhow.’ So I’d rather be a place I want to be than a place I could have been, ”Carl said.

And there is the prescription – for the blues I can’t do it.

Contact On the road, or to send us a story idea, write to us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com.

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Carl Allamby

CBS News



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