In search of a meal: Area residents without power hit fast food
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer and LUCIE R. WILLSIE, Associate Editor
Apr 29, 2011 | 2133 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BY MIDDAY THURSDAY, Jane Ross, with her family in tow, had stopped at every Burger King and/or Hardee’s between Cleveland and Blue Springs to try and get a bite of breakfast. She has no electricity at home due to Wednesday’s ferocious storms that hit the Tennessee Valley area. Banner photo, LUCIE R. WILLSIE
BY MIDDAY THURSDAY, Jane Ross, with her family in tow, had stopped at every Burger King and/or Hardee’s between Cleveland and Blue Springs to try and get a bite of breakfast. She has no electricity at home due to Wednesday’s ferocious storms that hit the Tennessee Valley area. Banner photo, LUCIE R. WILLSIE
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Many area residents headed to local restaurants Thursday because they were without power from the tornadoes and storms of Wednesday.

Some local fast food restaurants had long lines and drive-thru lines circling the buildings.

Those in line were figuring out ways to cope with the loss of power.

At Krystal on Keith Street, Brenda Gibson and Angie Moore of Dockery Lane said that on Falkan Drive buildings were demolished and poles for power lines were all over the roads.

Gibson said restoring power would probably take a while, but had not heard anything official.

“It (has) hit over there before, but this is the worst,” Gibson said.

The women were also thinking of ways to cope without light. Moore said she had an oil lamp she would be using. She added they would probably be taking food out of the freezer and grilling it later in the day.

Some from out of town came here because things were worse where they live. Onecia Longley headed to Cleveland from Ocoee to get fuel and food. Longley said that the gas pumps and traffic lights along Highway 64 were out.

Longley said the damage was worse where her daughter lives at Bates Point. Residents of Bates Point have been told it could take up to two weeks before power is restored, according to Longley.

“Her house was spared, but there are people missing, people dead,” she said.

Some were planning on going to friends’ or families’ homes that still had power.

Jim Psynos said he and his family were going to his in-laws’ house. He has two children, a 15-month-old and an 11-year-old.

At McDonald’s, Lisa Parter of Central Street said she hoped her food would still be good when she got home. Parter was planning to put it in a friends’ refrigerator.

In her area, there were a lot of trees down, but she had not seen any structural damage. The storm had also put a tree in her mom’s pool.

Holly Kelsey said of Old Freewill Road, “for about a half mile it’s just destroyed.” Kelsey said she couldn’t sleep because of the storm on Wednesday.

Odom Everett said there was extensive damage on Blue Springs Road. His house was spared, but he was without power. Everett said he was not coping well, knowing that all the food in his freezer would probably go bad before power is restored. The power outage is also difficult because their son, who is recovering at their house from a recent motorcycle accident, cannot adjust his hospital-style bed.

By 10:15 a.m. Thursday, Jane Ross had stopped at every Hardee’s and/or Burger King between Cleveland and Blue Springs without any luck until she was able to finally order some fast food for her and her three passengers at the local Burger King on 25th Street.

She has never seen the fast food restaurants so crowded before. But, she said she had to find an open eatery because she couldn’t make breakfast at home since her electricity was still out.

What seemed like hundreds of other area residents also lined up at most of the area restaurants across town Thursday morning. At least, they were lined up many deep at the open ones. Many typical morning breakfast haunts, however, never opened their doors.

One passenger in Ross’ car, in particular, was acting “a little silly,” however, possibly due to the lack of breakfast so far that morning, she said. This passenger was Ross’ one-year-old Chihuahua, Annie.

And, even though Ross was finally able to order breakfast, the Burger King on 25th Street had run out of biscuits by the time she got to the drive-up order board.

But it wasn’t surprising that the Burger King had started to run out of some of its menu items.

“Oh, my gosh,” said Dee Womack, general manager of the Burger King. She didn’t know how else to describe the onslaught of diners starting first thing at 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning after the storms hit and many were left without power. They were nonstop busy most of the day. “We didn’t expect it. This morning was really bad.”

Womack saw a significant increase in customers for one day. The main reason her customers gave was the lack of electricity in their homes.

“That’s the main reason,” she said. And the customers were very patient, especially considering the sometimes longer wait times than normal. “We have not slowed down.”

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