AUSTIN, Texas - One 85-year-old man has been going to the same restaurant for the past 35 years. Now with COVID-19 measures in place, he says that won’t stop him from supporting his favorite restaurant.
Every Friday afternoon, County Lake BBQ at the Lake expects to see one very loyal customer, Gordon Decker. "He's one of our best and longest customers," said Pito Sosa with County Line BBQ at the Lake.
Decker has been coming to the restaurant since 1985.
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"I met Gordon when I started here on the skyline in 1985 and Gordon and his wife Mary Ann would come in every Friday," said Orlando Sosa with County Line BBQ at the Lake.
Gordon and Mary Ann Decker quickly became more than just customers to this restaurant. "Guess where we had our 50th anniversary? Right there [at County Line BBQ at the Lake] in the back room," said Decker.
County Line even gave the couple their very own booth.
"My whole family knows them, and they're just special people. We miss Mary Ann," said Orlando Sosa.
Seven years ago, one of County Line’s most loyal customers passed away. "My wife, God bless her. I lost her back in 2013. We came here every Friday night. It was a tradition," said Decker. A tradition Decker still keeps up even during a global pandemic.
"A couple weeks or three weeks ago when we stopped in-house service, I called him. I said, ‘Hey, Gordon I'll bring you some barbecue’. He says ‘no man, I already placed my order’. He was way ahead of me," said Pito Sosa.
Decker says he still follows social distancing protocols but still wants to get some interaction in. "I still want to come down. I've been living in the house by myself since 2013 and you know, I have to have a break once and a while and get out," said Decker.
Now just instead of taking a seat in his usual booth, Decker hangs with, what his calls, his extended family at a safe distance. "I get to talk to all the guys here, but we don't go sit down, we do it right here," said Decker.
Once Decker is handed his meal, he spends some time catching up with the employees before he leaves. "I get to talk with him for a half an hour and then go home," he said.
Until next Friday, when Decker gets to do it all over again.
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