WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Ruben Acosta returned to his restaurant for the first time since he was shot while on the job in early June.
It was an emotional welcome for Acosta as he entered Ruben’s Mexican Grill on Thursday evening.
“Oh my God,” said Acosta as he walked through the doors of his restaurant.
As Acosta waived in appreciation, his loyal customers got on their feet and applauded Ruben’s presence.
Acosta hadn’t been to his Delano restaurant since June 9 when Wichita police said an armed robber walked into the restaurant and demanded money while an employee was taking the trash out. Police said the robber fired his gun, which hit Acosta twice. Acosta, who had a gun, returned fire.
Acosta said he was somewhat uneasy about his Thursday’s return to his restaurant.
“I was kind of nervous, but as soon as I walk in and see all of my people, all of the support that I have been given, they give me more strength, they gave me strength to come in,” Acosta said. “I said whatever happened awhile back, I have got to confront. I said no matter what I gotta be here, so I might as well start now.”
Now couldn’t come soon enough for Acosta, 58, who has undergone at least six surgeries since the shooting.
“I guess I was too strong and had to face whatever happened and I’m here and I’m happy,” he said.
Acosta’s customers were thrilled to see him back at the restaurant. Once he got settled in at a front table, people welcomed him with hugs and kisses.
“I love you,” said one customer.
“You look great,” said another customer.
“You’ve got all of us on your side,” said another person.
Acosta said he’s grateful for the community’s support.
“I don’t have no words. It feels so good. I feel great, you know. I feel happy to see all of my customers supporting me in all ways,” Acosta said.
Acosta has months of physical therapy ahead of him. He said it will be sometime before he can permanently return to his restaurant.
Wichita police arrested Reginald Kane for the shooting of Acosta. Kane is charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery.