Coronavirus throws curve in retirement plans for longtime Luby’s workers

Sendoff for Sandy and Sherry Reuthinger put on hold

A set of twins who worked for Luby’s for 40 years now find their retirement plans changed by the coronavirus pandemic.
A set of twins who worked for Luby’s for 40 years now find their retirement plans changed by the coronavirus pandemic.

SAN ANTONIO – There were dishes to be done and customers to be served.

For 40 years, Sandy and Sherry Reuthinger did that and more at the Walzem Road location of Luby’s restaurant.

Family photos show the Reuthinger twins on their last day on the job. (KSAT 12 News)

“I love the customers too. And the hugs. And the hugs (laughter),” said Sandy with twin sister, Sherry, echoing her sentiments.

The two worked side by side at the restaurant, a job they took on all those decades ago through a school program for students with special needs.

The customers and regular hugs they enjoyed on the job have become memories now, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.

Texas-based Luby’s announces intent to sell restaurant businesses, assets

The family style restaurant shut down temporarily during the quarantine months ago.

However, the twins and their family believe the closure could be for good.

According to a news release on the corporate website, the company put all its restaurants up for sale in June.

“It’s not easy. I loved this company so much,” said Sherry, peering through the business’ darkened windows.

Even before the pandemic hit, though, the twins had planned to hang up their aprons.

Prior to the restaurant shutting down, the sisters prepared a plate for a customer at Luby’s. (KSAT 12 News)

They were due to retire this month, and their family had planned for them to go out in a big way.

They were going to have a celebration allowing the sisters to say goodbye to the only job and co-workers they’d ever known.

Now, even that is off the table.

“I’m just so proud that that they stuck it out all these years,” said their mother, Lavada Reuthinger.

She and her late husband made it their job to see that the twins arrived for work safely.

Until a few years ago, Lavada Reuthinger would shuttle her daughters, who do not drive, back and forth to the restaurant.

“We always felt that Luby’s was a very safe place for them,” she said.

With that safe haven gone now, the twins are struggling to get used to a whole new life full of new routines.

However, they’ve already begun making plans for the future.

“Go bowling, go swimming, miniature golf and travel. Yeah,” they said, in unison.

They’re now ladies of leisure after a lifetime at Luby’s.

KSAT12 reached out to Luby’s and received the following comment:

“Luby’s Fuddruckers Restaurants would like to recognize and honor Sherry and Sandy Reuthinger for 40 years of service and showing excellent guiding principles. Since 1980, both Sherry and Sandy have been a part of our family and brought many smiles to our guests as well as their fellow employees. Our General Managers, who have had the pleasure to work with them, are forever imprinted with their tremendous hearts, reliability, and friendly attitude . Amid the current events in our lives, we could not go without thanking them for the time they shared with us. We are forever their Luby’s fans and wish them nothing but the best in their new adventures!”

About the Authors:

Katrina Webber was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas.

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.