Hope emerges from Beavercreek’s Red Robin fire

BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) – More than 70 employees are without a job for the holidays after fire tore through the Beavercreek Red Robin.

It happened Friday.

Officials say the fire started in a vent hood.. and quickly spread to the roof.

The damage will close the restaurant for at least one month.

But a story of hope is emerging.

It’s an example of what’s working in the Miami Valley.

“Next thing I know, I’m on my way home and I get a text message that my job is on fire.” A text that Heather Lehner was never expecting to see..

As fire spread to the roof at her job for the past four years. “Disbelief. You never think it’s going to be your store,” she said.

“Shortly after the fire — the employees got the news. Their job, and their income would both be lost during this Christmas season.”

Reflecting — on not just a job — but her support for the ones she loves.

“I have two kids. I have a 10 and 11-year-old. My first thought was devastation. This is how I put food on the table every night. This is how I put gas in the car,” Heather said.

Heather is a server. Managers have been working with her and more than 70 of her co-workers to find shifts at other locations.

“You just go day to day. What am I going to do for dinner tonight? What am I going to do for my kid’s school lunches? It’s heartbreaking,” she said.  Lehner has relied on friends.. family.. and an otherwise unlikely person.

“He was just a guy who comes in every day, Monday through Friday. He orders the same thing .. Tavern double, with apples and steamed broccoli or something like that.”

Chuck McMillan drives from Wilmington to Beavercreek five times a week just to fill up on Red Robin.

When he heard his server was without a job he had to step in.

“I have a rainy day fund and that’s what you use rainy day funds for,” said Chuck Mcmillan, a loyal Red Robin Customer.

He’s giving some money to help her get through the season, providing food on the table for kids and spreading some Christmas cheer.0

“Ah, that’s just me. I believe in pass it on. I’m going to help you out now, and I expect that when you get better that you pass it on to someone else.”

Compassion he hopes will spread.

“We all need to take care of each other. We live in this great big village called earth.”

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