Shattered glass, broken locks, and an empty tip jar greeted food truck owners at Hamilton Food Park in north Austin when they returned to work on Wednesday morning, as reported by an anonymous owner. The severity of the damage left a deep impact on the truck owner. Though the suspect was unsuccessful in gaining access to four trucks, they managed to break the locks and a glass window on the Weladee Thai Kitchen truck, stealing a tip jar containing nearly $50 in cash, as well as a fan.
The incident marked the food truck owner’s first encounter with such an unsettling event, leaving her feeling shaken and concerned about the implications for her business. The owner expressed her worries, stating, “I thought about how I’m going to open today. How I’m going to make money, because I already lost some because people call me, I can’t make food, I can’t cook. I have to clean up and replace the window and all the stuff.”
The distressing nature of the crime deeply impacted the community as well. Hamilton Food Park customer Harriet McGirr expressed her sadness, reflecting on the audacity of the perpetrator and their willingness to damage others’ property while stealing their hard-earned money. Despite the recent break-in, the McGirr family, who reside nearby, decided to return to the food park, undeterred by the incident.
McGirr stated her resolve firmly: “It doesn’t frighten me away from here. I just heard about this, and we are coming tonight to try it out, and we will be back. It won’t scare us away.” Such resilience in the face of adversity showcases the strong bond between the community and the food park, as they refuse to let the actions of one individual ruin their experiences.
However, a feeling of helplessness lingers within the food truck owner. She expressed her hope that the law enforcement agencies could take action against the culprit and offer support to those affected. The financial burden imposed by the need for repairs and replacements has strained the business even further. The owner pleads for assistance, stating, “I hope that [the] cop or what is called law enforcement, they could do something with those people or this guy or sometime, maybe just give us some, what is called, help us because we have to spend all the money for fixing stuff.”
To add to the truck owner’s difficulties, the incident occurred soon after her return from a three-day vacation, exacerbating the adverse impact on sales, which were already below average for a Wednesday. The loss in revenue serves as another blow to the food truck owner’s expectations, as she mournfully stated, “I didn’t make money as I really expected today.”
This unfortunate event highlights the vulnerability of small businesses and the resilience required to continue operating amidst challenges. The community’s unwavering support and the hope for swift action from law enforcement offer a glimmer of optimism for the food truck owner and other entrepreneurs in the area.