Community rallies for Greenville breakfast chef

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Hundreds of Greenville residents on Facebook showed their support for a local chef at Harvey’s Breakfast Place on South Memorial.

After Ms. Mary Sergio was rushed to Vidant Medical Center last week, the Harvey’s team shut their doors and focused all of their attention on her recovery.

Back behind the grill one week later, Ms. Mary attributes her speedy recovery to the love, support, and prayers of hundreds of fellow community members.

Walking into Harvey’s, you are immediately met with the smiling face of Ms. Mary.

“When I first got here it was like I had known Mary all my life,” diner patron John Patterson said. “She just makes you feel at home.”

For the owner of Harvey’s, Jay Bastardo, Ms. Mary is an integral piece of the history of the spot.

“Mary is the heart of this operation,” he said. “She’s the person who keeps everybody smiling.”

But smiles turned to panic last week when Ms. Mary collapsed on the job.

“Next thing you know, one of our staff members in the back just screams, ‘Jay! Mary’s down!’” he remembers. “She’s a strong, strong woman. And to see her in that situation, we didn’t take any chances, we’re calling 911.”

Bastardo closed the doors of the Breakfast Place early and posted an update on Facebook, where prayers and healing thoughts were posted in the comment section.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Bastardo said. “Seeing the entire community, not only on Facebook, showing love, but everywhere she goes now she’s being stopped and being asked, ‘Hey Mary! How are you?’”

This is something Ms. Mary isn’t used to.

“I go outside to the Piggly Wiggly and people say, ‘Are you okay?’” she said.

One week later, she is back on the grill, filling orders, and serving breakfast with a smile.

“I feel real good,” Ms. Mary said. “I’m glad to be home again with people who love me. It’s a family I’ve never had before. I’m blessed. God knows I’m blessed.”

Through her cooking, she is able to give everyone that takes a seat a slice of home.

“It’s always going to feel like more than a breakfast,” Patterson said. “You feel like you’re coming home and having a meal with your own mom, your own grandmother.”

Harvey’s Breakfast Place is open from Monday to Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Copyright 2021 WITN. All rights reserved.