This is the story of how Andrea "AnDi" Tompkins of Bryant ended up in the parking lot of a Texas Roadhouse during a rainstorm wearing nothing but her pajamas and a pair of Birkenstocks.
Tompkins, an outreach specialist for the Windgate Center of Art + Design at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, turned 53 on Oct. 2.
That evening, she and her 12-year-old daughter Maryn Harvey decided to order supper from Texas Roadhouse and pick it up curbside.
The curbside element is key. Tompkins wasn't planning on getting out of her car, so all she had on were her pajamas and the Birkenstocks she's had since 1992.
"I just thought I'd run over there, pick this up curbside and go home," she says.
Of course things went wonky.
First, Tompkins says, the order wasn't quite right. That was soon sorted, but she realized as she was driving away that she hadn't paid her bill.
She called the restaurant and returned to pay for her food, and that's when the battery for her Subaru Outback decided to call it a day.
"The windows were rolled down; I couldn't roll them up because the battery is dead. It started raining, and I was in my pajamas," she says during an interview filled with fits of laughter from us both. "It's dark, we're in this parking lot and my daughter was really freaking out. This has never happened to her."
Tompkins got out of the car but had no idea how to open the hood.
"That's when I realized the manual for the car was at home," she says. "This just gets better and better."
Also, the battery on her phone was almost dead and her husband, Joe Harvey, was working at Saracen Casino in Pine Bluff.
"Luckily, I have a tween who would not be caught without her phone charged," Tompkins says of Maryn. "Her phone came in very handy for something other than Instagram posts that night."
They called her mother-in-law, Linda Harvey, who went to help, though it was later revealed that she was headed for the Texas Roadhouse on Shackleford Road in Little Rock, instead of the Bryant location where Tompkins and Maryn were stranded.
Meanwhile, a man in a large pickup was watching this all unfold from across the parking lot.
"I'll bet he was thinking, 'I can't believe that woman is wearing pajamas out here,'" Tompkins says. "But he asked if I needed some help, and I said I would really appreciate it."
He got her vehicle jumped off, and Tompkins and Maryn made it home with their supper.
"I don't know who the guy was, but I thank him so much. He was very gracious and didn't comment on my pajamas. He was all business."
Tompkins admits with a laugh that she's still not sure how to open her vehicle's hood, but there was a lesson learned.
"I will not be leaving the house in my pajamas again."
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