By now most of you have probably heard about the tragic incident which occurred in New Paltz on Saturday morning around 11 AM in the parking lot of the Plaza Diner in the Tops Plaza. A man lost his life due to gunshot wounds he received when apparently being shot by his son in the parking lot of the diner.

I am not going to focus or speculate on the incident. Nor am I going to use this as a reason to bring up the "gun debate". The reason I am bring this tragedy to light again is to share what I witness last night and this morning. I want to make this about small businesses in our community and how important it is to support small business owners.

It just so happens that this is a diner I frequent often. As a matter of fact if it wasn't for a change in my weekend schedule my husband and I would have been there Saturday morning around 11 AM as we are just about every Saturday. After hearing the awful news of what had transpired in the parking lot my first thoughts went to the people who work at the diner, the family that owns it and their regular Saturday morning customers.

My next thoughts were about what might happen to their business not just on Saturday but in the days to follow. I was concerned that people might be hesitant to go there in the near future due to the shooting. It wasn't pleasant to find out the circumstances behind the shooting. From what I have heard the story is tragic. But it was comforting to know that regular customer and staff at the diner were safe.

The Plaza Diner is the kind of place that remembers you when you walk in to sit down. They know what you order, they even make homemade baked goods and sell them on the counter. The staff ranges in age from college student to retirement, each of them there to earn money for something. What an unfortunate thing it would be to have the actions of the young man be the reason one of these fine staffers at the diner can't pay a bill or do something they had planned.

When I finished work Saturday night I had to run errands in the plaza. As I pulled in I looked to the left at the diner not sure what I would see. I have to admit I was happy to see that the diner had customers. I wondered if some of them hadn't heard the news. Either way it was great to know that this small business was up and running.

This morning when I passed the diner once again it was nice to see cars in the parking lot. It heartens me to see that the actions of one person has not caused another group of innocent people to pay a price for that persons actions. A bad thing happened at that diner Saturday morning but it looks like people are going to make sure it doesn't turn into something worse.


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