By Wendy Parker
West Texas rang in the new year with an ice storm that paralyzed normal activities for almost a week. Road closures and impassable highways caused a great number of travelers to be stranded, resulting in a pretty disappointing New Yearâ€™s Eve for those who had other plans — unless they happened to be stranded at The Plateau Truck Stop in Van Horn.
Cheyenne Rain is a truck driver who pulled off the highway in Van Horn when the roads started getting hazardous. Her intentions were to take her 10-hour break and sleep through the worst part of the storm, but when she got up the next morning, the roads were impassable and she realized sheâ€™d be spending her New Yearâ€™s Eve in Van Horn.
Lindseyâ€™s Cafe, owned and operated by David and Hope Martinez, is attached to The Plateau Truck Stop. Cheyenne had frequented the truck stop before, but had never taken time to sit down in the cafe for a meal. Waiting out the weather gave her an opportunity to go in for breakfast, just before the restaurant lost power.
“I went back out to the truck to rest and wait it out. I didnâ€™t have much food in the cab, I had just cleaned out my truck and hadnâ€™t restocked anything.â€
When she got up and started the truck to idle a few hours later, she happened to hear on the CB radio that the restaurant was open and serving hot food, which was unusual because the truck stop remained closed.
“I walked in to Lindseyâ€™s and people were bundled up in hats and coats, working by candlelight. They still had gas for cooking, and a guy was hauling water in five gallon buckets from outside to fill the toilets so we could use them. Iâ€™ve never seen anything like it.â€
Hope and David Martinez had never seen anything like it either.
“We decided to stay open to help the people who were stranded; they needed us.â€
What they didnâ€™t expect was for those people to pitch in and give as much help as they were getting. The truckers came in and did what truckers do: They took care of business. Hope, David and the staff who were able to stay through the storm had help with everything from cooking to washing dishes.
“My waiter left due to the bad weather. Jesus is so powerful he said, â€˜Here, you lost one employee, Iâ€™ll send 10 truckers to help youâ€™.â€
And help they did. Donations were made so people without money could have a hot meal, everyone who sat down got a full belly, regardless of their ability to pay. The fellowship and goodwill that came with the experience was priceless. Cheyenne says itâ€™s something sheâ€™ll never forget.
“When I first walked into the restaurant, there was a little girl handing out candy canes to everyone. She was the cutest thing, and it just touched my heart to see her. I saved the candy cane, I want to keep it as a reminder of this forever.â€
Lindseyâ€™s is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The Martinezâ€™s are opening a second location at 807 E Broadway this Saturday. Hope and David have a vision, and it involves a whole lot more than just running a business.
“We could just have a restaurant, but thatâ€™s not what we want. We want to help people. We want to offer jobs in our community and serve the public.â€
She also sends out a special thanks to everyone who pitched in and made the effort possible — Mike, Allen, Miguel, Alejandro, Thomas, Thelma, Yolanda, Annie, Sylvia — and many more.
“We love the truckers, theyâ€™ve been great since we opened the doors a year and a half ago. God bless all the truckers.â€