TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)- After peaceful protest turned into riots and looting in Tampa over the weekend, several businesses found themselves with shattered storefronts including Firehouse Subs on Fowler Avenue.
“People were breaking into the Winn Dixie Liquor store which is right next door to me. When the police came and the police were trying to stop them, they were using rubber bullets. I think one or two of the bullets hit the glass and I think ultimately that’s what broke the window,” said Firehouse Subs franchise owner Tracey Johnson.
Down the street from the sandwich shop, Wireless World was also dealing with broken glass and stolen merchandise.
“When we came in, it was a disaster. They took everything. Everything was broken, things were stolen. They took phones, inventory, even my customers phones that was here to repair,” said Wireless World owner Sunny Lakhani. “I’ve seen protest in my life where they hold or hang signs, but I’ve never see anything like this.”
Both business owners tell WFLA.com they were faced with the harsh reality of paying thousands of dollars to fix their windows but an unlikely hero came to their rescue.
“Saturday night I was watching tv and watching all of the destruction, it made me sad and made me feel bad. I fell asleep around midnight and woke up the next morning around sunrise and felt the urge to go help,” said Greg Harris, president of Ashe Glass & Mirror.
Harris offered to replace the windows, free of cost, for several businesses, including Wireless World and Firehouse Subs.
“I just wanted to give back to the community. The community has been good to us for 29 years and I thought it was my turn to give back,” said Harris.
Now, Harris is now being called an ‘angel’ after picking up the pieces and helping his neighbors during a crisis.
“He said ‘free, no charge. We know what you are going through.’ He is literally an angel. Who does that now in days? Nobody,” Lakhani said.
“We have been suffering with the quarantines and the stay at home orders, so to have something else piled on top of us…it was incredibly nice of him,” said Johnson.