An East Ridge businessman robbed and maced outside of a bank says he's grateful for the outpouring of help he's received from a number of customers - both new and old.
Though police haven't yet made any arrest, owner Mike Ford says the influx of people supporting his business Wednesday has been incredible.
"He's a really good guy and he didn't deserve this at all," says customer Angela Bley.
And for that reason, Angela Bley stopped in Wednesday just to check on the owner of the Hickory Pit.
Standing room only, we were there as dozens of people came out to the well-known barbecue restaurant for two main reasons.
"I just came to eat and wanted to see how I can help him," says customer Fred Simmons.
The owner Mike Ford was making a deposit at the East Ridge Regions Bank on Tuesday. That's when police say a crossover SUV rolled forward, a man jumped out, attacked Ford and maced him.
"He reached for my arm and money bag and when I didn’t turn lose of it, that's when he sprayed me," says Mike Ford.
Wednesday, Ford was recovering and back at work.
Many people - who aren't regular customers - dropped into the restaurant just to make sure he's okay - some even drove from as far away as Dalton.
"I've ate once or twice here, but just hearing what happened to the gentleman, I wanted to come and help him," says Bruce Johnson.
And for continuous customers like Angela Bley, she wants the owner to know the community is behind Ford and his wife.
"Mike and Betty have been in the community for a long time and we're here to support them and let them know that we're going to continue eating here," says Angela Bley.
She's still shocked to know that someone like Ford was a victim to a robbery.
"My heart just went out to him thinking I hope he's okay. I hope he didn't get hurt and why did it happen to such a nice guy, why'd they pick on him?" questions customer Angela Bley.
Owner Mike Ford says he can't express how much he's grateful for the support.
"There's so many good people in this world, and a few bad people make it terrible. So we thank everyone, we really do," says owner Mike Ford.
The owner Mike Ford says he's making some changes in the way he deposit money.
Mike Ford says he's making some changes in the way he deposits money. East Ridge Police say they are looking for 3 black males and a black crossover SUV.
Anyone with information that could help authorities catch the suspects, you're asked to call East Ridge Police.
By Jerry Askin