LUBBOCK, Texas (KAMC) — The family of a Texas restaurant owner who died of COVID-19 is honoring what would have been his 70th birthday by serving free meals to the community.
Kool Srivarodom, the owner of Thai Pepper in Lubbock, died this month after being diagnosed with COVID-19 back in November, NewsNation affiliate KAMC reported.
His family reopened his restaurant this week to not only serve their delicious food, but to also honor Srivarodom by doing the one thing he loved most: cooking.
Hundreds of people showed up at the restaurant, with some even reserving their spot in line early in the morning. The line of customers ended up wrapping around the building for several hours.
“The turnout has just been amazing. Everybody has been sitting out here parked out in their lawn chairs since 8 o’clock,” said Srivarodom’s son Joshua.
Many wanted to taste the dishes they missed so much while the restaurant was closed and to relive old memories.
“Honestly, we are so sad that Thai Pepper may not be continuing, and we had to get our last bites,” said customer Danielle Allred, who was first in line. “I love it so much. If we could afford to pay more forward, we would, so anything is great to help.”
Thai Pepper gave away all the food for free, collecting only donations to the nonprofit Lubbock Impact in return.
“It’s amazing that they’re doing that,” said customer Mia Massoud, calling the restaurant “a staple” of the area.
“And it’s amazing that they’re paying it forward just because of the love and support that they’ve seen from the community,” Massoud said.
“I just want to say thank you to Thai Pepper,” said customer Adrian Ocharo.
Thai Pepper has now closed once again, and the family is uncertain of their plans for the restaurant’s future at this time.