In December 2009, two strangers met in the deserted Rio Center Mall in Gaithersburg, Md.
A snowstorm had left Dr. Nicholas Orfan of Hagers-town and George Petridis of Slippery Rock, Pa., stranded because of the weather. They were the only two in the building.
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It was an evening that formed a friendship and led to the publishing of Petridis' memoir, "Destiny of an Artist."
During the storm, Orfan headed toward the mall's lobby. Petridis called out, "It's closed."
When Orfan turned around, he saw Petridis painting.
Orfan was fascinated by Petridis' paintings. He said he loved the way Petridis used colors because it was "unique and dramatic, with lots of contour." The two men began to talk about art and Orfan enjoyed hearing about Petridis' adventurous life.
"I was really impressed by his life as a little boy in Greece," Orfan said.
When Petridis was 12 years old, he snuck into a cliffside nightclub to sell flowers so he could make some money to buy food. A guard chased him and Petridis felt his only chance of escaping was leaping off a cliff into the ocean below.
Petridis fell 40 feet.
Luckily for him, Petridis missed the rocks in the deep water only by a few inches. He only suffered cuts and bruises on his back.
This adventure is one of many stories Petridis told Orfan.
Petridis was born in Greece, lived in Germany and Canada briefly, then made his way to the United States. When Orfan met him, he still did not speak English well, so he asked Orfan to help him write his life story.
"I knew Petridis was an interesting man with a lot of great stories," Orfan said.
The result is a book that Orfan co-authored with George's wife, Melanie Petridis. George narrated the stories to Melanie, Melanie typed the stories and Melanie sent the stories to Orfan who shaped the story.
Orfan, 52, had experience in writing and editing before he worked on Petridis' memoir. He was the editor for "Pathways," a human-interest magazine in medical school at Northwestern University in Chicago. Orfan wrote about 25 articles for scientific journals like the Journal of American Medical Association and the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Orfan said it was a collaborative effort among himself, Petridis and his wife, Melanie, to make the book a reality.
"I changed the language in a way readers could understand," Orfan said.
Orfan explained he edited, corrected grammar and changed the order of how information was presented because he wanted to emphasize the beauty and humor of Petridis' life.
"It was a privilege for me to be the guy who translated it into the language that was acceptable for Americans to understand," Orfan said.