TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Wednesday, the Tucson community came together to support the family of 9-year-old Edouard Lautaire who was killed in a hit-and-run about two weeks ago. His 10-year-old brother, Maximilien, was severely injured in the incident.
At last count, the Denny’s on Broadway and Wilmot raised $25,000. They were offering free food for donations. People were filing in all day to support the family. When the general manager was driving home the night of the incident and saw the emergency vehicles, then heard what happened, she knew she had to do something.
“Tragedy doesn’t even cover what happened. I’m glad justice is being served,” said Krystal Conley, general manager at the Denny’s on Broadway and Wilmot.
Serving up pancakes, chicken wings and more, hundreds of mostly strangers ate to support the Lautaire family. While they may not personally know them, they feel a connection to the tragedy that happened. Whether the accident was near, or far.
“It affected me like…really bad because it obviously happened right in front of our apartments,” said Mikela Bower, who was donating on Wednesday with her roommate.
Carolina Villascuesa and her friend Stella Rivera-Varela were planning on eating somewhere else for lunch Wednesday, but when they heard of the fundraiser, they had to dine at Denny’s.
“The best way we can support her is letting her know we love her even though we’ve never met her,” Carolina Villascuesa, who was eating a meal in support of the family.
“I think it’s a really nice way for the community to show we’re supporting, and feeling, for her even though we don’t know her,” said Stella Rivera-Varela, who donated.
All plates were free for a donation. A box in front of pictures of the family fills up with cash donations just inside the restaurant’s doors. It might just be money, but it’s something to help.
“Just to give her that moment to just to heal her soul,” said Conley.
The fundraiser went on from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The family’s priest said in a statement to KOLD News 13 “Now that the funeral is done, the reality of Edouard’s tragic death is setting in more deeply. Valentina has been being very brave in dealing with the many good-hearted people who have reached out to help. But when everyone goes home, the nights are especially hard and the realization that Edouard is not coming back hits with enormous weight. She is grateful beyond words for all the generosity and compassion that people have shown.”