Some ran, others cowered in the restaurant’s walk-in freezer — anything they could do to escape the bloody biker brawl erupting around them.
Little, if anything, has been heard from the workers at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, where a lunch-hour shootout and melee killed nine people and injured more than a dozen Sunday.
They may not be talking publicly, but stories of their fear, frustrations and uncertain futures are coming through loud and clear in social media posts.
“What we went through Sunday was scary as s--t,” wrote Alicia, a Twin Peaks waitress, on her Facebook page. “I wouldn’t want to have gone through it with anyone else. Being in that freezer with y’all made me see how much of a family we really are.”
Alicia, 20, did not respond to Yahoo News’ request for an interview. Since the shooting, waitresses from Twin Peaks — a national chain with mountain lodge décor and female servers in revealing plaid tops, shorts and boots — have fought off jokes while dealing with the all-too-real memories of the deadly rampage.
“I’ve been biting my tongue and I can’t take it anymore,” Veronica, a waitress, wrote on Facebook. “...everyone is entitled to their opinion, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THIS IS NOT ABOUT IF THE GIRLS ARE TRASHY OR NOT!”
Taking full inventory of the chaos from Sunday, one can understand why employees remain on edge, even if no other customers or staff were wounded.
About 50 weapons, mostly knives and guns, have been confiscated from the scene where 170 motorcycle club members were arrested.
A Waco mother who did not wish to be identified had two daughters waiting tables at Twin Peaks when the violence erupted.
“They’re really traumatized right now,” she told Yahoo News in a brief phone conversation.
One daughter was inside the restaurant and the other on the patio when the first gunshots were fired, she said.
On Facebook, her daughter Christal wrote “…all the bikers were running out with gun(s)! I f---ing fell and everything.”
A colleague replied that she was surprised by the clash. “They never acted like that before cuz they can be so cool when you talk to them.”
“Yessssss! I loved them,” Christal responded.
On Tuesday, authorities said an argument over a parking spot sparked the riot. One man was injured when a vehicle rolled over his foot. That caused a dispute that continued inside the restaurant, where fighting and then shooting began, before the melee spilled back outside.
Police have pulled no punches with Twin Peaks, either. Authorities said the local management allowed the large gathering of motorcycle clubs despite being warned that violence was possible.
On social media, Twin Peaks waitresses seemed to be split about blaming restaurant management. At least one Facebook post alleges that a top manager “did not take the warnings seriously and continued with the biker events.”
A regular customer of the Waco restaurant chimed in as well because, as she wrote, “you can tell I’m angry.”
“I am so thankful that the girls are okay,” Judy, a Waco business owner, commented on Facebook. “I don't think anyone realizes how hard you guys work, plus go to school, plus take care of family. I think the girls that day should have been warned of danger and given the option to call in sick.”
Another waitress, though, said she’s “tired of reading about whose damn fault it was.”
“Let’s just move forward and keep the people who lost loved ones in our hearts,” Kris commented on Facebook. “I love all my sisters of plaid, just keep your head up.”
That may be easier said than done. Twin Peaks revoked Waco’s franchise agreement because it “did not uphold the high security standards we have in place to ensure everyone is safe at our restaurants,” the company said Monday in a statement.
News of the closing found waitresses on Facebook and Instagram comforting one another and giving tips on how to claim unemployment benefits.
“There are always fights on bike nights, so we expected the usual,” commented Sara, a waitress who according to her Facebook page is also a college student and mother. “Nobody thought it was gonna be taken this far. None of us deserved to lose our jobs.”
As of late Tuesday, the restaurant remained a crime scene. Employees still have not been allowed to retrieve their cars, cell phones and other belongings.
“My heart is so heavy for all of my friends who were scared for their lives,” Sara wrote. “Now we are worried none of us have jobs, with bills to pay and some have children to provide for. Please send your most loving and positive thoughts in the direction of all of my co-workers and the families of those who were injured.”
(This story has been updated since it originally published.)
Jason Sickles is a reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).
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