Thursday night, in an incomprehensible act of senseless violence, Haiku owner Julie Liu and Haiku server Rachel Widomski were purposefully run over by a diner who ran out on his check. According to the Dispatch, Ms Liu is in serious condition and Ms Widomski is in critical condition - very serious, from what I understand from her friends. The driver fled the scene after hitting another person in the parking lot who was not seriously injured.
I do not know Rachel Widomski, but as a professional server, I can tell you that most of us either have no insurance, or have very little. Aside from that, we are usually not provided with any sort of disability coverage, so unexpectedly missing even a week or two out of work can be finacially devestating.
The Short North is a very connected community, and as a server, I know the restaurant world is usually separated by far fewer than 6 degrees. It is amazing how fast the community has come together to offer support. Servers in the Short North are already working to organize some sort of benefit night, and a donation site has been set up for the victims and their families, Haiku Help.
Please pray/send good thoughts/energy/whatever your method of choice, for Julie and especially Rachel, who is facing possibly life-threatening injuriess. Rachel is an emerging artist whose work was featured in Haiku.
Police are still searching for a "person of interest" in the hit and run, according to the Dispatch; a man with numerous DUI and theft arrests, who is currently out on bail awaiting trial on various charges and is thought to have fled the city.
The Short North seems to be seeing in increase in violence lately; it is Columbus' most vibrant neighborhood and an asset to our fair city. Let's call on the Mayor and the City of Columbus to show an increased police presence in the neighborhood, and restaurant owners: please do not leave it up to your employees to collect money for would-be dine & dashers. It simply isn't worth it. I think it is something which rarely happens, fortunately, but I've been in a few situations in even nice restaurants where small situations escalate to scary levels (usually fueled by irresponsible drinking).
So Julie and Rachel, please know our thoughts are with you, and we wish you nothing but full recoveries. The entire community is stunned by these events, and you are in our thoughts and prayers.