As if I wasn’t already enamored by Meg Heriford owner of the Ladybird Diner. Why? First off, she’s been feeding us flavorful comfort food and pie, delicious delightful pie, at the downtown diner since 2014. And then there’s the space, the fun inclusive space that’s known for being a safe welcoming place for all. And then there are her people. No, not her employees… her people. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you visit Ladybird’s Facebook or Instagram profiles, where Meg shares a picture and a beautiful tribute about the people who make up the Ladybird. Through these posts, we learn about the mother behind the baker, the student behind the line cook, the activist behind the server. And her writing, it’s so lovely.
That time Meg made Kris Kristofferson’s birthday cake.
So yeah, I was already in awe of Meg. But what she has pulled off these last couple of weeks have been nothing short of unmistakable. It seems as if Meg has some sort of super power where she can spot a need from a mile away and in no time have a plan to meet that need.
It all started with hand sanitizer. Unable to find any inventory, but understanding the need of her guests to feel safe, Meg whipped up her own, bottled it up, and made them available at each table of the restaurant. Bonus: she shared the sanitizer recipe with her social followers.
When the call was made that local schools would not resume after spring break, Meg quickly activated a plan to make free sack lunches available for anyone who needs a meal. I can’t say I was surprised. She feeds people.
It wasn’t long after that Meg closed the diner in her words “in an agonizing act of love” to keep her people and her patrons safe. Free sack lunches were still on: Monday – Friday, 11:00 AM – noon. Ironically just a week before, we debuted the Ladybird Diner episode of our Foodie Vlog titled “No Free Lunches”. Ha, no free what????
In true Lawrence fashion, local people and organizations pitched in to help. Two pallets of bread from M&M Baking Company, buns, cheese, and more from The Burger Stand, cookies from Eileen’s.
As social distancing rules continued to get stricter, workers lost their jobs, and access to basic needs getting fewer, Meg hopped into action again. Now anyone who needs a pantry box for up to four people can swing by the Ladybird patio and pick one up.
Meg hasn’t forgotten her people. She’s currently operating with a very small crew but has set up a GoFundMe to accept tips for those who are out of work due to the restaurant’s temporary closing.
Please accept this giant THANK YOU, Meg Heriford of the Ladybird Diner. You feed us! Not just comfort food, but comfort period. You feed us unmistakable comfort.
The purpose of Unmistakably Us is to share the stories of the people and places that make Lawrence unmistakable. So what is unmistakable to us? Our brand manifesto wraps it up…
Lawrence is your quirky, cool friend who brings fun to the neighborhood. Lawrence works hard and plays hard. Lawrence is both outgoing and welcoming, creating an atmosphere of acceptance and innovation. Its eclectic personality is reminiscent of the proverbial “Renaissance Man,” whose expertise spans a broad range of areas: Education, Arts & Culture, Sports & Social Accomplishments. Lawrence is a catalyst for organic creation and original thought, a lightning rod for cultural change. Its energy is contagious. Like a great film, it leaves you wanting more.
Do you know a Lawrencian or a Lawrence organization that fits that description? Nominate them to be featured on the blog by emailing Andrea Johnson.