Chicago-area high school athletes surprised a River North small business owner Wednesday morning to offer support after his shop was looted for a second time this summer.
Adel Elbiadi, 81, has owned Tut’s Convenience Store, 503 N. LaSalle Drive for 10 years. Elbiadi was preparing to reopen business May 29, after closing in March due to COVID-19, when his shop was destroyed during civil unrest downtown. Athletes from the PepsiCo Showdown and Buddy’s Helpers organization learned of Elbiadi’s story and showed up the following week to clean up the store.
When the students heard Tut’s Convenience Store had been looted again this weekend, they worked to come up with ways to help.
Elbiadi was completely shaken after his store was robbed early Monday. And while damages were less significant then what he saw in May, his main window was broken and security cameras destroyed. Wednesday morning students surprised Elbiadi with a check for $1,000 to help repair those damages.
“I am so happy,” Elbiadi said after students presented him with the gift. He plans to use the money for “a lot of things,” from replacing stolen products to repairing doors and windows.
A handful of students from city and suburban schools showed up to Tut’s Convenience Store on Wednesday, many kicking a soccer ball around on the sidewalk with Elbiadi.
It has been a challenging summer for Zori Bucio, a rising senior at Sarah E. Goode Stem Academy on the South Side, but she was grateful to have this opportunity to make a positive impact.
“We are standing here today, to not just lend a helping hand but to remind people to work together,” Bucio said.
More than 100 people were arrested following looting in the downtown area early Monday morning. Police Superintendent David Brown said social media posts encouraged the downtown looting following a Sunday afternoon police shooting of 20-year-old Latrell Allen in the Englewood neighborhood.
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