La Feria eatery donates BBQ plates to help family of teen killed by 'drunk driver'

Don Beto's restaurant in La Feria is busy preparing 200 pounds of thinly sliced brisket, kissed with a mouth-watering barbeque sauce, 80 pounds of sausage and enough beans and rice to be fit for a king.

It's enough food for 300 BBQ plates.

But the owner of Don Beto's isn't selling them, rather giving it all away.

"When I saw these kids from school washing cars and having bake sales for a nice funeral, that's when I said I'm going to donate some food to be sold and the proceeds go to the family," Ernesto Rodriguez, restaurant owner said.

He's referring to a Weslaco family that lost a loved one in a gut-wrenching way.

Maria Cecilia Lopez, 17-years-old, was killed by an alleged drunk driver while she was just trying to get the mail.

The Weslaco High School senior was laid to rest earlier this week.

"Real sad," Ernesto said. "I just give thanks to the Lord for what we have."

Ernesto is giving away $2,000 worth of food in a fundraiser for the Lopez family.

He does not personally know them but feels compelled to help.

"Because I have kids that age and I'm blessed| and I have received several blessings so this is the time for me to give back," he explained.

His generosity and selflessness is the reason behind this week's Pay it 4Ward surprise.

"Just word of what you're doing has made a difference and has inspired others already," Action 4's Ryan Wolf said to Ernesto inside the restaurant.

"So I have a surprise for you," Ryan said. "You do?" Rodriguez asked. "I do. I want you to take a look right over there, Ryan said. In the corner of the room stands Karen Gonzalez, spokesperson for FNB Insurance Agency. She is there to provide cash for Ernesto's kindness as a partner on Pay it 4Ward. "I can't even imagine what this family is going through," Karen told Ernesto.

It TMs been so incredibly touching and inspirational that on behalf of FNB Insurance and Action 4 News, we would like to Pay it 4Ward to you." Ernesto was then handed $400. "Well, I wasn't expecting this. I'm glad you did because it's just going to passed on to them and it's going to be even better for them, Ernesto said. Ernesto believes it is better to do for others today because "no one's guaranteed a tomorrow."

Don Beto's BBQ plates have already sold out.

The staff at Weslaco High School purchased all 300 plates for Friday.

Ernesto says he plans to donate about $2,500 to the Lopez family with the Pay it 4Ward prize included.

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