CHICAGO — When Bob Corbett walked into the Restaurant Depot on Goose Island to stock up on supplies for his business Monday morning, the mood was somber and the employees were missing their usual smiles.
He could tell immediately something was off, he said.
"I know the girls really well. I go there four days a week, and when I came in Monday something was going on," said Corbett, who took over Fatso's Last Stand once the beloved owner, Phil Ashbach, became terminally ill.
The employees "were really upset, and they were asking for donations," Corbett said, which is when he realized one of the employees who usually helped him when he visited the business was the mother of the 11-year-old girl slain Friday night.
"I heard about Shamiya [Adams], but didn't put together that that was her mother," Corbett said.
He said news of Shamiya's death was "heartbreaking" and "horrifying," but when he realized he knew Shamiya's mother he experienced his first connection to the violence plaguing the city and wanted to help.
"I'm a middle-age white guy from the 'burbs. I have three kids. When I drop off my kids at a sleepover I'm worried about a lot of things ... a bullet going through a window, ricocheting off a wall isn't one of them," said Corbett, recounting reports of how Shamiya was shot during a sleepover before her church's picnic.
So instead of donating money, Corbett offered the women a lot more: His restaurant's patio for a fundraiser, hoping that having it at the restaurant would bring more people out. He figured he could get some of his own customers to help by offering his food at a discount for a good cause, he said.
"I always say if you want to help help the family, this is what I can do. I can help their family," Corbett said.
The fundraiser is from 3-6 p.m. Thursday at Fatso's Last Stand, 2258 W. Chicago Ave. Corbett will sell Fatso's famous Char Dogs, fries and a drink for $1 apiece during the event, and all proceeds with go directly to Shamiya's family. Fatso's also will be open for customers wanting the full menu.
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