Food truck owner halts business to care for daughter

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 6:09 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - The owner Ato’s Sisig and Grill has put the business on hold due to spending the last few weeks tending to his injured daughter after she was shot in Portland, Oregon.

Ganthel Vergara said the injury might keep his daughter, Alexandra, off her feet for months, as the cost of her recovery continues to rise.

“It was around 5 a.m. - the call - so it was around 2 a.m. there,” Vergara recalled. He got the calls from her daughter’s friends in Oregon back in September, after she and two others were hit by gunfire outside of a bar.

“All I remember, I kept saying ‘please, please, please, please’ to the people that were around me,” said Alexandra.

Ganthel recalled having mixed emotions when calling back his daughter’s friends, “I was mad and trying to blame [someone]. ‘Who did that?’”

Ganthel said investigators believe it was a random shooting, resulting in a bullet shattering Alexandra’s femur.

“You know how some people are scared of drowning, some people are scared of heights? Mine is breaking bones. I felt it breaking on me,” she said.

The shooting happened in September, and since then, Vergara’s livelihood, Ato’s Sisig and Grill, has been on the back burner as the medical costs accumulate.

Food truck owned by Ganthel Vergara
Food truck owned by Ganthel Vergara(ganthel vergara)

“Alexandra, Tomas, and Ondria. I named it after my kids,” Vergara told NBC12 crews about the history of the name of his food business, adding, “it’s just hard to work, and you have a lot of things on your mind.”

The incident conjured up other painful memories for Ganthel and Alenadra alike.

“Her mom got murdered in the Philippines back in 2003, so she grew up without mom,” Ganthel said, choking up.

The two are hoping people’s goodwill can help them navigate the next 9 months, the prediction from doctors as to when Alexandra might be back on two feet again.

Ganthel said he plans to bring the truck back at a Filipino American History Month Celebration on Oct. 23 at Strangeways Brewing’s Dabney Road location. He adds that he may even bring along Alexandra to help.

In the meantime, he has set up a crowdfunding page to help cover his daughter’s medical costs.

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