Opinion Remembering Stacy Byrne at the Radcliffe Café in Bristol
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.”