Story Time

This Widower Closed His Restaurant After His Wife Died. Then His Customers Gave Him A Big Surprise

Tony Buttner was sitting in his Virginia restaurant surrounded by familiar faces when one of his friends handed him an envelope. Soon, the eatery owner was in floods of tears. He just couldn’t believe what the community had done for him at a time when he needed it most. Toady, who hails from Eastern Enrico, Virginia, had been married to his wife, Betty, for as long as anyone could remember. But in December 2017, Betty passed away and left Toadie, a devastated widower. Not only that, but her death also had further implications. For the previous three decades, Betty and Cody had been running a business together. They were the proud owners of Pinewood Restaurant, a popular spot for locals. The area’s police officers and firemen were frequent visitors to the joint, too. But when Betty passed away, 32 years of business ground to a halt as Toddy closed down the restaurant. Plenty of local people was saddened to hear about what had happened to Betty and the well-regarded Diner, too, so it was clear that Betty held a special place in her customer’s hearts.

Enrico Police Officer Billy Grimmer explained to TV station CBS Six News just how remarkable Betty had been.

She would hug you and kiss you on your cheek before you left, and she doesn’t even know you.

And she would do so even if she didn’t know the customer very well, Grimmer explained. When Betty died, then, it was little wonder that the Pinewood Restaurant customers were sad to have lost such a friendly face.

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It was like losing your own mother. It was very hard.

So although it was a sad time for everyone who knew the buttoners, it was also a chance for the community to come together to show how much they cared. In a show of unparalleled loyalty, many of its regular customers subsequently decided to join forces and do something to help Tody. It seemed that people simply weren’t prepared to see Pinewood Restaurant go under because of Toady’s tragic loss. Despite the fact that nothing could ever bring Betty back, the local community managed to find another way to help the bereaved owner get his restaurant back on its feet. First of all, the customers clubbed together to raise some money. The aim was to gather enough cash to help cover all the costs associated with a loved one’s passing that way, the waiter would hopefully be able to afford to keep the Cherished restaurant open. A CBS Six video news report captured the moment that Tody was presented with the donations as he sat in his restaurant. In the footage, Grimmer explains what the community had done, telling, we all love you, buddy, OK? As he hands the owner an envelope and shakes his hand. Incredibly, the local patrons had managed to muster together over $6,000 which meant that the cost of Betty’s cremation was covered.

Not only that, but according to local news station WTVR in December 2017, Tony would also be able to keep the restaurant doors open as a result of the community’s kindness. In the video, Tony is visibly overwhelmed by the community’s actions and has tears streaming down his face. His grimmer hands over the money in front of a full house of loyal patrons, including many police officers and firemen the waiter who announces Y’all are the best with the extra $6,000. The restaurant was set to reopen just a couple of weeks later, but there was some other big news. As Betty used to be the one in charge in the kitchen, a replacement was needed to take charge of the culinary responsibilities, so tody’s daughter was drafted in to take control of the kitchen. In Betty’s absence, everything seems set for Toddy to get back on track thanks to the kindness of those around him. And of course, he was delighted with everyone’s generosity. Too shy to speak directly to reporters, the restauranteur reportedly told his close pal, Officer Grimmer. I feel wonderful about it, he added. It’s nice to have good friends and the whole family and all the workers.

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With a framed photograph of his beloved late wife sitting on the counter behind him, Tody must have been very emotional that day, but one of Todd’s friends, Mike Elliott, reckon he could tell that Betty was there in spirit. You can feel her in the room now, he said. As if the kindness of the restaurant’s regular patrons wasn’t enough, something else remarkable happened to Tony, a local funeral home. Nelson heard about the widower’s predicament and decided he would pitch in and help, too. In fact, the organization offered Toddy a significant reduction in cremation costs. Fjord was offered to him at a lower price, too, at a time when a lot of widowers would have felt most alone, the Eastern Enrico community showed Tody Just how many people Truly cared about him. Although toady’s tears suggested that he thought what everyone had done for him was pretty incredible. His companion and loyal customer, Grimmer were very modest about the whole thing.

That’s just something that you do from the heart. It’s just friends helping friends.

The financial implications of losing someone you love can be difficult to manage, but thankfully for Tony, There was a whole band of people who had had his back during his time of need. So while he may now be a widower, It’s clear that he’s far from alone in the world.