MOORE, Okla. – The May 20 tornado flattened the Agapeland Learning Center. Survivors lost everything. To add to that, it looks like they’ve lost money to a t-shirt company now.
A lone swingset sits in an empty lot of 4th St. and Telephone Rd. That’s where the daycare used to sit. Until the tornado tore through Moore.
“My immediate thought is, ‘That’s my work. Those are my kids. That’s my second family.’” said Alicia Connett.
Connett’s students and fellow teachers made it out of the rubble.
All they wanted to show for it was a simple shirt that would say “We will survive 5-20-13.”
“It’s about, you know, the kids getting something saying they survived, the family able to embrace that the children did survive,” explained Connett.
Thankfully, she says owners of a Norman t-shirt company stepped up. James and Patricia Beedle of Lotus Apparel. She says they charged a low cost of roughly $160.
“They just seemed really happy to help,” said Connett.
Week after week, the shirts never showed.
“I’m angry more than anything,” said Connett. “I’m upset that I was in charge, and then let down, let down, let down, and I kept pulling for him.”
Finally, connett received a text message…
The Beedles wrote that they could not supply the large number of shirts for the amount of money they charged.
The owners said they would refund the money.
No weeks have turned into nearly five months, and parents still have not received their refunds.
NewsChannel 4 called the owners of Lotus Apparel. They did not return messages.
Reporters also tried to look up the business address for Lotus Apparel on the Internet. Nothing came up. There is a Twitter account that lists an actual website for Lotus Apparel. However, that website does not work.
Connett says it’s not a lot of money. She doesn’t understand why the Beedles don’t refund it.
“How could you do this to us? These kids, these families, the staff that went through that. When you shook our hands,” said Connett. “It’s upsetting.”
For now, the daycare says it will refund parents’ money to them. They still hope Lotus Apparel returns the funds.