Out of respect for the passing of Bill Hair, and the rest of the eden team, we closed our restaurant for dinner service on that day. Recognizing people deal with grief in different ways, we left the decision to not open for dinner to the eden team. There isn’t a playbook for how to deal with this, but in hindsight, we’re glad to say it was the best move. It allowed us to come together over a meal and process the devastating news in the place where most of us knew Bill the best.
Since this news was released within our organization, through news outlets, and on social media, we’ve had an outpouring of people reaching out to offer support. We’ve been in touch with Bill’s family and the greatest and saddest thing we learned was that serving at eden was more than a job for him. He was one of the original crew when we reopened, was proud to be working at eden, and understood our company’s vision.
Now what? There’s also no playbook for that. As a team and as individuals, we will process and navigate emotions. We will go through our days with subtle and obvious reminders of the impact Bill had on us and our guests. He had a roster of people that would ask for him by name and we are anticipating the burn in our hearts when that moment comes again.
We will be sad, but we will also celebrate his life as a team, as a community, and as a family. This is not an easy time in our company, but what we feel to be true is that we needed to say something more about why we closed and honor the memory of Bill. To his family, friends, and coworkers. We are here for you.
The mission statement of the William Robert Hair Foundation is “To support individuals and families affected by fatal gun violence in the Chicagoland area by providing resources to build lasting memorials honoring those we have lost and helping heal loved ones and the community.” The lasting memorials described in the mission statement will include but are not limited to, perennial gardens, trees, plaques, benches, murals, and other memoriam in honor of our mission and their loved ones. By creating something positive out of this senseless tragedy, Billy’s loved ones strive to honor his wishes and establish a lasting legacy for many Chicagoans that will endure for generations.