Man Partners With Cleveland County Sheriff's Office To Give Norman Father Life-Changing Gift

Thursday, October 10th 2019, 7:36 pm
By: Caleigh Bourgeois

A father in Norman was given a special gift Wednesday, from a man he served at “The Diner.” 

Cook Alejandro Lopez has plenty of regular customers.

However, it was a new customer, three weeks ago who would change Lopez’s life.

Rich Barnard, CEO of Tio Chuy's Auto Sales in Oklahoma City, said he just started talking with Lopez.

The conversation soon turned to cars.

“He had a 20-year-old SUV and that it was not in very good shape, and he was having difficulty getting his daughter to and from some doctor’s appointments,” Barnard said.

In addition to working six days a week at The Diner, Lopez said he cares for his sick daughter.

“She's 10 years old and has overcame a lot, and she still has to see the doctor a lot for her conditions,” Barnard said.

After hearing Lopez's story, Barnard left Norman on a mission.

“On the way home, the thought just crossed my mind and I called my wife and I said, ‘I think we need to make a difference in this guy's life if we can,’” Barnard said.

Barnard called up the Cleveland County sheriff to work out logistics and showed up once again to The Diner, Wednesday of this week.

Lopez was busy working, but somehow Barnard got him outside and handed him the keys to a 2015 Ford Explorer free of charge.

A day later, Lopez is still emotional describing it, tearing up at times.

“A lot of people are just happy for me, they talk to me congratulations. They say you good man good cook,” Lopez said.