Kenny Anderson was back in his favorite restaurant Monday morning — only this time, he was keeping an eye out of the big window on his left, just in case another car decided to park where he was sitting.
Last Wednesday evening, he had been sitting in another window booth when a minivan crashed through the wall and into his booth. The dramatic surveillance video from the scene shows both him and the booth flying across the floor and into the counter of the Wilkesboro, N.C., Coffee House, with the window at his feet.
Before the dust had even settled, Anderson calmly reached for his hat, put it on, and began trying to get up.
“I didn’t realize what was going on at all,” a cheerful Anderson told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Monday from his booth in the Coffee House, which he has visited daily during the 17 years it’s been open.
“I just had walked out and got a newspaper,” he said. “Come back and sit down, opened it up and started to read, and all of a sudden, everything was on top of me.”
He told his story in a matter-of-fact tone, as if it weren’t that remarkable. A waitress helped him extricate himself from the mess and sat him on the counter while Anderson waited for an EMS crew to take him to a local hospital. Doctors X-rayed him and ran him through an MRI and found that other than a few cuts and bruises, he was undamaged.
“It just knocked the breath out of me. I couldn’t breathe at first,” he said. “I didn’t realize what had happened until I did get up.”
Anderson gave an update on his condition: “I’m doing good, considering what happened ... The doctor, he checked me three times. He couldn’t believe I didn’t have a broken bone. He said it was amazing.”
The auto-body repairman has told local media that his shoulder is still sore and that he intends to have that checked again.
Anderson usually visits the Coffee House for lunch and dinner. Last Wednesday, he happened to be there at 8:15 p.m. when a 60-year-old woman, Mary Lou Lunsford Sheppard, lost control of her van while driving on the road that passes the diner.
According to local news reports, Sheppard told police she hit the brakes on the van and they didn’t work, at which point she panicked. She jumped a curb, crossed a median, hit the side of an SUV and crossed another median before entering the Coffee House parking lot. In the lot, she hit two more parked vehicles before jumping a curb and crashing into the booth where Anderson was reading his newspaper.
Police reportedly cited Sheppard, who was uninjured, for failure to maintain lane control and exceeding a safe speed. The damages were estimated at $20,000 to the restaurant and $21,000 to the vehicles involved.
But after all that, Monday found Anderson back at the Coffee House with a mug in front of him. Vieira asked him if he has been keeping his eyes open more while he enjoys his meals.
”They’re open now,” Anderson said.