by Anneli Rufus
In the immediate aftermath of the August 22 takeover robbery at North Oakland's Nomad Cafe, employees who survived the heist were "stoic and remained busy and preoccupied with other aspects of their lives," reports cafe owner Christopher Waters.
Weeks later, those employees "are only now starting to have nightmares and extreme fear reactions in the presence of men of any age, height, or color who happen to be wearing hooded sweatshirts." When dealing with survivors of any type of crime, Waters advises, "softly brace them for the fact that this process isn't over - not only in their own psyches and outlooks and relationships, but in the real world of criminal prosecution: There is still a photo lineup or a live lineup of suspects to come, and possibly an appearance on the witness stand." Organized not by Waters but by well-wishers, a recent fundraiser at the Nomad "raised $630 for us - not far shy of the $750 that was taken during the robbery. ... My great staff initially refused to accept the funds and asked that I use it to help recoup our business losses. When I insisted, my staff voted to use that $630 to fund a team-building overnight camping retreat for themselves. It will be a much-needed support for their troubled hearts despite their unbroken spirits. In addition, one generous member of our community bought two $200 gift certificates to a local spa - one for each of the two young women who were working at Nomad on the night of the robbery. They are very grateful for the support." Suspects in the heist were arrested earlier this month.