Reporting Joel Thomas
ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) - The employees at Babe’s restaurant in Arlington will tell you, the phrase family restaurant doesn’t just apply to its customers.
“We’ve always been really close,” said Aaryn Hausinger who’s been a server with the company for four years. “We consider ourselves a family around here.”
But last week, the ‘family’ suffered a tragedy. Their general manager, P.J. Spielman, lost his 13-year old step daughter Skyla Fisher in a car crash on August 25th. His wife, 33 year old Kelly Spielman died a week later. His 6-year old son is still in critical condition. Police say a pickup truck smashed into the family’s car at an intersection in Calera, Oklahoma. The driver of the pickup, 21 year old Jesus Garcia, Jr., was charged with manslaughter.
The Babe’s family was called together and told the news.
“People were crying,” said Babe’s manager Howard Ball. “Typical thing with any family when something of this nature takes place. But at the end of the day we were on a mission.”
“We thought, what do we do?” Hausinger said. “Where do we start? How can we help? And all of us girls just took off.”
“We just all got together and decided we should do something to help lighten the mood and help them out financially,” said Renee Gurke, a server with the restaurant for three years.
“We came up with a bunch of ideas,” Hausinger said. “The garage sale, the benefit, having different fundraisers at different places.”
Some of the servers used their own possessions for a garage sale. Neighboring businesses, Arlington Live and The Grease Monkey restaurant, donated their venues for a concert to benefit the family on September 29th. The plan is to charge $50 per benefit ticket which will buy access to the show as well as food and other entertainment.
Through it all, a restaurant family has bonded even more as it reaches out to help one of its own.
“The outpouring of love and generosity from everyone has been amazing,” Gurke said. “It has really touched me.”
“Sometimes it takes a community to pull together to help someone,” Ball said. “And this is one of those times.”
Tickets for the September 29th benefit are available at Babe’s Chicken, Grease Monkey and Mellow Mushroom restaurants in Arlington.
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