The Union Bar and Grill in Gering, Nebraska, owned by Scott and Carla Swanson, is getting a lot more attention than they ever imagined after what happened in their parking lot on a typical Saturday night. The chain of events kicked off when Austin Martin met a friend at the bar, then ended up leaving his truck in the bar’s parking lot overnight.
The next morning, Austin’s wife Janelle took him to pick up his vehicle. That’s when the pair found a note on the windshield of Austin’s truck, which had remained at the bar overnight because Janelle had picked him up the night before. After reading what the note said, Janelle went straight to social media to let everyone know exactly what had happened and what she thought about it.
“More bars should take note from Scott and Carla Swanson,” Janelle began her Facebook post, referring to the Union Bar and Grill owners. “Austin (my husband) met a friend at the bar last night so he left his truck there and I picked him up. He found this note on his truck this morning when I took him to go get it. — at The Union Bar,” she added, tagging the establishment and including an image of the note.
“Dear Union Bar and Grill Park Guest,” the letter began, “Just wanted to thank you (for) leaving your car parked overnight,” it said. “I’m not sure if you consumed alcohol at our restaurant or not, but we want to thank you for not drinking and driving,” the letter continued. But, the most shocking part was yet to come.
“Bring this letter to the bar and we will give you a Hamburger and Frend Fries,” the letter declared. “Please accept this as a thank you for being responsible.” It concluded, “Life is valuable, have a great day,” and was signed by Scott and Carla Swanson, the Union Bar and Grill owners.
Yes, instead of towing vehicles left in their parking lot overnight, the owners of the Union Bar and Grill reward folks who park overnight in their lot with a free meal since they don’t want anyone to drink and drive. Since such a thoughtful gesture could actually save some lives, it’s no surprise that the stunning note has gone viral.
In fact, the viral post had the local news showing up at Union Bar and Grill to interview Scott and Carla Swanson, who relayed that they came up with the idea of rewarding their guests two years ago. In fact, similar letters have been posted on social media from patrons of the bar before. “Why it went viral this time, I have no idea because it’s been posted a lot of other times,” Scott explained.
“Carla and I pulled into the parking lot a couple years ago,” Scott recalled, detailing the night the letter idea was born. “We had a pretty good night the night before and there was ten cars in the parking lot, and I mention and she mentioned that, you know, we ought to think of something to do for the people that are responsible,” he continued. “She came up with the idea,” he said, referring to his wife Carla, adding that he thinks she saw something similar somewhere else. The two have been doing the letter as a reward for responsibility ever since.
Scott also relayed that the letter with the free burger and fries is something they only do “sparingly” and “sporadically,” so that people don’t take advantage of the generous gesture just to get a free meal. But, they are thankful Janelle Martin’s post and their letter did go viral this time. As Carla Swanson explained, she hopes that the attention causes other bars to take note — no pun intended — and that they will consider doing something similar for their patrons too.
Carla and Scott Swanson want to remind drivers and their guests at Union Bar and Grill that life is valuable, and the letter is a message to reflect that. “The more we can do away with people driving and drinking, it’s better for every community,” Carla concluded with Scott simply adding, “My message to them is don’t drink and drive and get a ride if you’ve been drinking too much.”