There’s something to be said about the special, comforting feeling that comes from being a regular at your local spot, whether it’s a restaurant, a bar, or in Steve Mercarter’s case, the Burger King down the block.
Mercarter visited the fast-food spot nearly every day (some days more than once) for 10 years straight and would always order a burger and a beverage.
When he didn’t show up on September 25, manager Sue Spencer knew something was wrong.
Several days later, it was reported by police that a 49-year-old had died tragically in an accident after wandering onto train tracks and being hit by a train.
The man was identified as Steve Mercarter.
Steve’s sister told the outlet that her brother struggled with schizophrenia.
Mercarter was a “part of the woodwork” at the local spot and the staff and shift managers felt as though they had to honor the loyal patron the best way they could, especially as there was no obituary written about him.
Next to Steve’s usual spot, where he sat for over a decade, the Burger King staff roped off his booth with a red chain and put down a coffee cup, soda cup, a wrapped cheeseburger bun, and flowers to honor their beloved customer.
Above the table, a sign was hung that says “We will miss you Steve. Rest In Peace.”
As Mercarter struggled with mental illness, shift manager Tami Clark shared that the staff often cared for him as they would a family member and tried to help him when it seemed as though he was struggling. It was unknown whether or not Steve was homeless or where he was living.
“We let him in, we fed him, we told him when to go home and put warm clothes on,” Clark penned on social media. “We told him he shouldn’t be out in the bad weather, or at 4:30 in the morning … Steve will never walk through that door again.”
Customers who also knew Steve throughout the years left momentos and flowers at his memorial inside the restaurant.
Though manager Spencer told Syracuse.com that the booth likely won’t remain that way permanently, to honor Mercarter in any way at all is proof that home really can be anywhere you choose to make it.