NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — About 100 people stood in the cold Wednesday evening to honor a gas station worker who gave them big smiles from small interactions.
Vishal Patel was shot and killed Monday afternoon at the Kwik Sak gas station in Hermitage where he worked. Two teens have been charged with his murder.
Patel’s friends and customers say he was a joyful man who was generous and always brightened up the store.
“This man has put nothing but smiles and a lot in your day when you came,” said customer Robin Simmons.
Other customers said his smile and laugh would turn around even some of their most frustrating days, which is why they kept coming back sometimes twice a day.
“I just loved to stop here to see him. I could stop there. I could go up there. But, I came here because I just loved seeing this guy. He was such a gentle giant,” customer Andre Rossouw said.
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And it wasn’t just his bright personality, customers and friends say they treated them like family whenever they were in the store. Some remembered moments when he gave customers short on cash some free gas, let children pick out a treat at no cost and promised customers a refund if they tried and didn’t like the food at the taco truck right outside his store.
While they said they were filled with anger at his passing, customers and friends said they will try and honor him by showing the same kindness to others that he showed to them.
Patel’s funeral will be held on Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. at Highland Hill Funeral Home on Brick Church Pike in Nashville.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe to help support Patel’s wife and daughter.