Restaurant owner in need of customers returns favor while battling Parkinson’s

SAN ANTONIO – The owner of a restaurant who called for help in a viral Facebook post last month says business has improved. He’s also vowing to help the community even as he deals with a difficult diagnosis.

“I have Parkinson’s disease,” Bob Riddle told his Facebook followers this week.

He closed two of his Big Bob’s Burgers locations last year. The only one remaining is off Hildebrand north of downtown.

“My mother used to say the easiest way to be miserable is to think about yourself and what you have and what you don't have,” Riddle said, “so what I'm doing is I'm just trying to give back.”

He’s offering use of his parking lot or restaurant, gift cards and even smoking meat for fundraisers to help schools, churches and other groups.

“We don't have money but we have food, time and space,” Riddle said.

Money was tight and business was slow Dec. 11 when he first asked the community to have a burger at his restaurant. More than 9,000 people shared his social media plea.

“They came in droves,” he said. “There was a line out the door for two weeks and still, we're busy all the time and people want to help.”

@MichaelLocklear |