Sue McDade and her husband, Jim, loved coming to the Eat’n Park in Kirwan Heights, where they would clown around, perform magic or play kazoos for the customers and staff.
The South Fayette couple had been married 19 years and was friends with practically every worker on the wait staff and many customers.
“We knew everybody and everybody knew us,” Sue McDade said. “We would clown and do magic. The people here are so loving and caring. We just loved everybody and the staff.”
So when Jim McDade died on Dec. 21, 2011 following complications from a stroke, Sue knew there was only one place she could go after leaving the Pittsburgh area hospital.
“I was so confused,” she recounted.
The look on her face when she entered the Eat’n Park restaurant told the story. A manager came up and asked her what was wrong.
“Oh my God, Sue. What happened, and where’s Jim?” the manager asked when she entered.
Sue could only get out two words, “He died,” before the entire staff surrounded her to grieve with her and offer comfort.
Her story was featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in an article by columnist Brian O’Neill. She discussed how the restaurant staff and customers helped (and are still helping) her get through such a difficult time in her life.
She went back to the restaurant again last Friday morning to meet with the staff and offer them a formal “Thank You” for everything they have done for her. They told stories and laughed and cried with each other.
“No one gets in this photo without a hug!” Sue said before showing to the staff a certificate of thanks she thought would be a fitting for the restaurant.
“I wouldn’t be alive today without all of your help,” she said while dabbing tears from her eyes. “You touch peoples’ lives.”