Burt Reynolds tells everyone Bandit and Snowman are not friends of Smokey but Smokey reached out to Snowman on Wednesday. Instead of Snowman making a run to Texarkana for beer trying to elude law enforcement, truckers only needed to stop in New Site for a friendly encounter with Buford T. Justice to fill their stomachs.
Thanks to New Site police chief Phillip Weddle and retired New Site police chief and current Tallapoosa County commissioner John McKelvey, Smokey and Snowman met on friendly terms on Highway 22 in New Site. The pair of law enforcement officers handed out 25 cheeseburger meals purchased from The General’s Cafe in New Site to passing truckers.
Weddle said there was no real planning involved; they just wanted to help those struggling due to the fallout of the spread of the coronavirus.
“It was just a spur of the moment thing,” Weddle said.
McKelvey said there are lots of folks struggling as the economy stalls as a result of COVID-19.
“I just felt it was a good thing to do,” McKelvey said.
The General’s Cafe owner Penny Patterson was thankful for the order but said McKelvey and Weddle’s act of kindness doesn’t surprise her.
“It’s super nice,” Patterson said. “They are always helping folks. They’re great guys. They do a lot of things they don’t get credit for.”
Patterson welcomed the order for 25 cheeseburger baskets as state orders have restricted the New Site mainstay to provide only takeout.
“Like everyone else, we’ve been slow,” Patterson said. “Their order was great.”
State Route 22 was a scene from the movie “Smokey and the Bandit” as Weddle had his patrol vehicle set up with lights flashing as if he was going to get the Bandit. The reunion of Smokey and Bandit went well. Weddle waved the trucks to a stop and he and McKelvey approached a frowning truck driver. A smile quickly developed as a Styrofoam tray and cup of sweet tea brightened the driver’s day.
“Thank you,” Danny Bethune said as he put his truck back into gear.
A FedEx delivery driver even got stopped and so did a UPS truck.
“We are not going to discriminate,” McKevley quipped.
McKelvey said he and Weddle were trying to help a local business as much as serving those on the road who can’t leave their trucks. McKelvley said the pair has plans to do it again and will make the purchase from other local restaurants.
“If you don’t help (local businesses) now, then they are not going to be here later,” McKelvey said.