Opin­ion Remembering Stacy Byrne at the Rad­cliffe Café in Bris­tol

The Advance of Bucks County - - OPINION -

Stacy Byrne walked over to my ta­ble one day last week to ask if there was any­thing else I wanted. I apol­o­gized and told her no; I said I was just mut­ter­ing to my­self about the need to stop at Wawa to get milk. “Oh, I talk to my­self all the time,” she said, and we both laughed. She walked away and that’s the last I saw of her, head­ing for some­one else’s ta­ble at the Rad­cliffe Café, where she worked as a wait­ress. Our ex­change was the sort of easy ban­ter Stacy was known for at “the Rad,” as the bustling early morn­ing pit stop is known as to reg­u­lars.

On the pre­vi­ous Sun­day, the small restau­rant, lo­cated on Rad­cliffe Street, just across the street from the Lenox build­ing, was again packed with its usual week­end crowd. Un­like other week­ends, how­ever, si­lence reigned. Peo­ple who usu­ally talk, laugh or call out to oth­ers - Rad­cliffe, with its home­town feel and its good, and rea­son­ably priced, fare, is the place in Bris­tol to eat, to see and be seen - con­ver­sa­tion was con­ducted in a low buzz.

“Did you hear about Stacy?” was a fre­quently asked ques­tion among din­ers. Stacy, 32, had been killed the night be­fore af­ter be­ing rear-ended as she sat in her car at a red light. Her hus­band, Ian, was in­jured. The driver of the strik­ing car was also killed in the ac­ci­dent. The two wHUH DPRQg sLx SHRSOH whR dLHd LQ IRuU hRUULfic cUDshHs on Bucks County roads over the week­end.

“I was nau­seous when I heard. She was so cool; she was the nicest wait­ress,” said my son, Barry, who had stopped for break­fast with a friend. “I wasn’t even sure I could eat.”

By Tues­day, some of the shock had worn off, re­placed by deep sor­row. Sub­dued cus­tomers of­fered con­do­lences, like “I’m sorry about Stacy,” or “How old was she?” Ques­tions were an­swered with quiet courtesy be­fore din­ers placed their or­ders. Sym­pa­thy cards and a box for do­na­tions that had started out as a “do­na­tion cup” that con­tri­bu­tions out­grew sat on a shelf, tes­ta­ment to the need for those who knew Stacy to ex­press their grief.

The ac­ci­dent oc­curred about 5:30 p.m. Satur­day when, ac­cord­ing to po­lice, Stacy’s car was rammed by the other mo­torist, who was speed­ing. Stacy’s car was cat­a­pulted across the road and struck a util­ity pole and a small shed. Be­sides her hus­band, Stacy, who lived in Croy­don, leaves be­hind two chil­dren, ages 8 and 5.

Chris­tine Cardi, an­other “Rad” reg­u­lar, re­mem­bered the wait­ress as some­one who was al­ways wel­com­ing, al­ways smil­ing, al­ways mak­ing cus­tomers feel as though she knew them.

“It’s so not fair, think­ing about her chil­dren now with­out their mother. I just keep think­ing about those lit­tle ones,” said Cardi, whose chil­dren are the same ages as Stacy’s. “It’s too sad.”

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