Todd Phelan was a server at Chili’s when he died in a tragic accident in February. Phelan was hit by an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer on Louis Henna Boulevard Bridge in Round Rock, Texas, and subsequently slipped and fell from the bridge. He survived the fall and trip to the hospital, but his injuries were too great to pull through.
Now Chili’s is continuing a cause Phelan started as a tribute to his memory. This year was to be his school’s first ever prom. Cedar Ridge High School was celebrating its first year with all four grades attending the school together, but they needed to raise the money to do so first.
Phelan had already approached his boss, Wes Williams, about throwing a fundraiser. They were just getting ready to plan it when Phelan died. He had worked there for about a year and had already been promoted to a server.
“He was truly loved by all and had an incredible heart,” said Williams. “He truly cared for people. He was always smiling and happy. Our team is absolutely crushed with this loss. He had a genuine passion for life.”
Willams’ words resonate even further with the effort multiple Chili’s restaurants put in after Phelan’s death. On February 25th, more than 50 of the chain restaurants across Texas hosted a fundraiser in his honor. Each restaurant donated 10 percent of the day’s sales to the Cedar Ridge Prom fund.
“Todd was a leader so it doesn’t surprise me that he was passionate about helping his high school,” said Phelan’s mother, Alicia Wooten. “He was always trying to fix other people’s problems. Todd had a great family at Chili’s and they’ve been wonderful to him. I told Todd I would do my best [for him] and although attending the fundraiser was too difficult, I helped pass out fliers. Todd’s girlfriend still works at Chili’s and I would do anything for them.”
Phelan had hoped to attend Austin Community College after graduation and eventually open his own bar.