The ripple effect from low gas prices began to hit home for some of Oklahoma's own; and with oil industry workers taking the hit in their wallets, and their stomachs, one Green Country business made a big impact with a small gesture.
Oil field workers make up a better part of the business at Wild Country Meats in Hominy and when owner, Chris Gabriel, noticed customers having a hard time financially, he decided to fire up the grill.
Around Hominy the oil and gas industry is just as much a way of life as grabbing a bite to eat.
“It's the oxygen and the blood for this area,” Gabriel said.
He knows a lot of folks in the industry and he said they make up about 90 percent of his business at Wild Country Meats.
On any given day, oil field workers dot the cattle car dining room that makes the meat market and grill stand out.
“These guys work long hours, day/night. They come in with oil from head to toe sometimes and just hard workers,” said Gabriel.
Despite their hard work, many in the oil field industry are seeing their hours and paychecks are being cut in half.
“We're all worried about it,” said oil field worker Nick Blakey said.
It's the impact of the falling fuel prices, he said.
“Imagine if your salary got cut in half and then somebody says, 'Well you're paying a dollar less for a gallon of fuel, aren't you excited?' No, I'm not excited about it,” Blakey said.
He, and all the other customers at Gabriel's restaurant had something to smile about Tuesday, a free meal.
“We see them when they're up, we see them when they're down and we just wanted to reach a hand out,” Gabriel said. “I can't do a lot, but just offer a simple meal and say, ‘Hey, listen, these oil prices are gonna come back up.' To see everybody excited, that's kind of what it's about.”
The free meal deal was good for anyone, not just oil field workers.
“My thought is, if you're not in oil and gas, you're affected by it. Every one of us, especially in this area,” Gabriel said.
The meat market, most recognized for serving a meal in cattle truck, may be remembered for meeting the needs of its neighbors.
“For him to do what he did today and say, 'Hey we appreciate ya, come out and eat,' it really means a lot to us,” said Blakey.
The restaurant served free burgers until 8:00 Tuesday night for everyone. Gabriel estimates they served between 1,000 and 1,500 free burgers.