Local Bar Owner Offering Free Rides Because Of Operation Thunder - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Local Bar Owner Offering Free Rides Because Of Operation Thunder

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Augusta, GA -

Operation Thunder is back for the holidays, which means police checkpoints will be set up throughout Richmond County. Matthew Widener isn't happy the campaign is back because the last time it was in town, people stopped going to his bar, Surrey Tavern.

"Once it got started and people caught on to what was going on, I mean it was a 50 percent drop in sales, easy. It was traumatic," Widener says.

So in order to make sure people keep visiting his bar, Widener is offering free rides for customers.

"Instead of sitting back and being upset about it, I just had to figure out a way to make it work for the customers. They are scared to even go out and have one drink," Widener says.

All you have to do is call this number, and a driver will pick you up at your house, and then drive you home later that night.

"I'm simply giving my number. It's my personal cell. 706-231-1937. And I've got several drivers that are happy to do it and make a little extra money. Free to the customer. And going out worry free," Widener says.

Widener says he understands why the Richmond County Sheriff's Office is doing Operation Thunder, in fact, he has given free rides to customers in the past.

"We obviously don't want people drinking and driving, you got to be a responsible drinker. It tends to get out of hand and it's really hard to get cab rides in this town and that's another reason behind the free rides," Widener says.

Widener says as long as Operation Thunder is still in town, the free rides will continue... But he says that could change.

"You know what, Operation Thunder aside, if all goes well and this catches on, I'm going to keep doing it all the time. It's not just during the holidays," Widener says.

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