Anyone who stepped into the Pinewood Restaurant in Henrico County, Virginia, were considered family, no matter if they knew you or you were a complete stranger. Owners Tody and Betty Butner worked hard for 32 years to make their place a comfortable and inviting place for their regulars and newcomers alike.
“If Betty were here right now she would hug you and kiss you on the cheek before you left, and she doesn’t even know you,” said Henrico Police Officer Billy Grimmer.
But when Betty passed away recently, Tody decided he would have to close up shop. It broke his heart to leave the business he had spent so many years building with his other half, but after factoring in funeral costs, he just couldn’t afford to keep things going.
When the Butners’ regulars – many of them members of the Henrico Police and Fire Departments – found out Tody was planning to close, they rallied together to make sure that didn’t happen. They raised $6,000 so Betty could be cremated and kept in an urn, and so Tody could re-open his beloved restaurant.
On Friday night, the place was packed as the community came together to surprise Tody.
“On behalf of everybody we don’t want you to close down, we want the restaurant back open,” Officer Grimmer told the stunned restaurant owner as he handed him the check.
“Y’all are the best,” Tody said as he struggled to hold back tears.
He was too overcome and humble to speak to the media, but he did share his feelings with Officer Grimmer.
“I feel wonderful about it,” he told the loyal officer. “It’s nice to have good friends and the whole family and all the workers the whole nine yards.”
Tody now plans to re-open Pinewood on January 2. His daughter will take over for Betty in the kitchen, but one thing is for sure – Betty is still in charge.
“You can feel her in the room now,” said Mike Elliott, one of Tody’s best friends. “I guess in the back of my head I can hear her saying something.”
When asked about his incredible act of kindness, Officer Grimmer downplayed what he had done.
“That’s just something you do from the heart, just friends helping friends,” he said.
He noted that Nelson’s Funeral Home also stepped up to help the family, giving them a large discount on the cremation and urn.
While Tody and his family are still heartbroken over their loss, they know they have the love and support of their community behind them, and that means everything.
Were you touched by what Officer Grimmer and the rest of the community did for Tody? Then share with your family and friends!