An 11-year-old Hickman boy made a heartfelt plea to his teachers, to help save his family's restaurant.
One teacher patronized the business - and then took his response a step further.
Construction in the heart of Turlock, specifically at the intersection of North Golden State Boulevard and Fulkerth Road, is hurting adjacent Restaurante Los Gallos, which owner Sergio Gutierrez opened in 2008.
"I went from selling $3,000, $4,000 a day to selling $200 a day," he told ABC10 News, explaining the impact the road closures are having on his business.
The construction project began July 31 and was originally supposed to wrap up by mid-September, but the revised completion date is now Nov. 1.
"If I had to close, that's a goals-and-dreams that just gets smashed, due to construction," Gutierrez said.
He and his wife have three kids, the oldest of whom is 11-year-old Estevan, who decided last week to do something about his family's struggle.
"I noticed how it really got to a part where my dad was close to closing down the restaurant, and I realized we have to do something to get more people here," Estevan explained. "so I sent an email out to all the teachers at my school about if they could come and help the restaurant and tell all their friends about it."
One of those teachers at Hickman Middle was Richard Vanden Bosch, who was struck by Estevan's message and action.
"Here's basically a cry for help from a young man, who is absolutely awesome," Vanden Bosch told ABC10 Thursday night, at Los Gallos. "He's really trying to help out his family business, and so I thought, 'The least I can do for this young man and this family is try to help them out.'"
He and his wife not only patronized the restaurant and encouraged others to do so as well, but Vanden Bosch took it a step further - and reached out to ABC10 and other news outlets.
"This isn't just about this business. This is about every small business that gets adversely impacted by construction," Vanden Bosch said. "There's a lot of people that I know that live here that just assume this place is closed because of all the construction."
Estevan said Mr. Vanden Bosch is his favorite teacher at school, "especially what he did. He helped out my entire family. He helped out our business."
With a big smile on his face, Estevan explained how he "gave (Mr. Vanden Bosch) a cake today to thank him, and then I'm like, 'There's nothing else I can do to repay him.' That was incredible."
But it all started with Estevan's email to teachers, which he sent without his dad's knowledge.
When his dad did find out, he was touched.
"It's an emotion, I've said, I'd never felt as a father," Gutierrez said.
Estevan is one week away from turning 12, but a birthday is not why his dad now sees a young man in his firstborn.
"He's growing up to be something smart, real smart," Gutierrez said. "Real good kid."
In response, City of Turlock spokesperson Maryn Pitt said they are working on putting up customized signs, for businesses that requested them. Those will alert drivers that the specific businesses in constructions zones are still very much open.
"If there are other businesses in the area that want additional signage, we are happy to accommodate their request," Pitt told ABC10.
Restaurante Los Gallos is located at 811 W Hawkeye Avenue in Turlock.
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