LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A Texas Tech student and server at Alamo Drafthouse, 20-year-old Jonah Rodriguez, is remembered as a "smiling, hard worker" after he was hit and killed by a vehicle Monday evening as he walked to work.
It happened at Loop 289 and North Slide Road, only a few hundred feet from the Gateway Apartments, where Rodriguez lived.
The driver notified police, but Rodriguez died shortly after.
When Rodriguez did not show up to his shift, his manager at Alamo Drafthouse became concerned and began calling him.
They were notified of the accident by the staff at Rodriguez's apartment complex.
"I was like, 'There's no way this just happened,'" said his coworker and friend Devyn Henault. "It was just too much. I had to stop working for the night and just sit in the office because I couldn't take it. It was just so hard."
Rodriguez didn't just charm customers; Henault said he could make his coworkers smile even on the worst days.
"He was just such a happy person," he said. "I don't think I'll ever forget him."
Rodriguez quickly became part of their "work family", and coworker Elizabeth Hynum said he was comfortable playing the joker.
"He always cracking puns," she said. "He was like, 'Orange you glad we cut all of these?' He was just always so funny, and he lit up the work environment."
During the summer, Hynum said Rodriguez would return to his hometown of Austin and even work at an Alamo Drafthouse there.
"He was always doing the right thing, was always just a rule follower," she said.
As Hymum and Henault exchanged memories of Rodriguez 24 hours after the accident, the sunset streaked a burning pink across the sky - Jonah's favorite color – reminding them that they "will see him again one day."
To help Jonah's family with funeral expenses, visit this GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/vd9jybx4.