CLARENCE CENTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – Every day, Brad Green Jr. drives past a lot that most people would not dare look at. Eleven years ago Wednesday, his father died when Flight 3407 crashed into what was once a home in that lot.
“I think about my father every day coming here,” Green says.
“Here” is Mardee’s, a diner just one block away from where the commercial plane crashed on February 12th, 2009. Fifty people, including Brad Green Sr., died.
“When I think about him, we spent a lot of time hunting in the woods,” the junior Green added. “We spent a lot of time fishing down on Chautauqua Lake.”
The plane crash that day started a series of events that leads Green to Mardee’s today. He’s no regular customer. He’s the owner.
“This was not my plan,” he admits.
He completed the purchase of the restaurant on what would have been his father’s 61st birthday. It was a meaningful day for Green. His dad was a regular there.
“On Fridays, he’d eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner here,” Green said. “He would spend his whole day here working on his laptop and making phone calls.”
He’d enjoy his traditional order: a cup of oatmeal and the country scramble.
“It’s still on the menu,” Green said.
“I actually like the fact that I think about my father daily because I don’t get angry about it,” he added. “I drive by and think about my father. I think about all the good things we did. I get those memories back in my head every day.”
And it’s not hard to remember. On the wall, there’s a drawing of Brad Green Sr. sitting at his customary table. Green Jr. has owned Mardee’s for about three and a half years now. It’s quickly turning into the family business.
“The previous owner was wonderful to my family. When she approached me on the sale of the restaurant,” Green trailed off. “I need this because I feel close to my father here.”