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‘Madea’ spreads holiday cheer in Abilene Whataburger and raises mental health awareness

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The holidays can be a difficult time for many. Some may deal with seasonal depression – others may recall an upsetting memory associated with the holiday season. Latrina Roberts worked at Whataburger off Southwest Drive as a service ambassador for years. This year, she dressed up as Madea, the iconic comedy movie character created by Tyler Perry, to spread the holiday cheer.

This character is known for his outgoing “I’ll tell you how it is” personality. The key features of Madea’s outfit are a long dress, gray hair and an iconic black handbag. Regular Whataburger customers said they weren’t surprised when Latrina dressed up as Madea, as she’s a very social and outgoing person. Longtime regular Ricky Hussman said that over the years he had built a comedic relationship with Latrina.

“Always happy, joking and joking, so I started joking and joking with his back,” Hussman said.

Latrina dressed up as Madea because she believes laughter and community can help those dealing with feelings of loneliness.

“No one knows what a person goes through behind their smile and you know, it’s inspiring, it makes you laugh. You can leave with tears in your eyes laughing, just a joyful thing I wanted to do,” Roberts said. .

In fact, many people deal with sad feelings during the holidays like regular customer Ron Colwell, who lost his brother around this time last year.

“My younger brother passed away, had a sudden heart attack and we come here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We certainly appreciate it. Trina knew all of that and she was very encouraging,” Colwell said.

Latrina was able to cheer Colwell on during this difficult time. Ricardo Aguilar and Kiana Hendrix, Latrina’s co-workers, shared that this is how Latrina is.

“She’s the heart of our restaurant and she’s the ambassador, so every time she does that, we’re so excited for her to do it,” Aguilar explained.

“She’s like that all the time. We love it here. He’s just a wonderful person. She’s like the light of Whataburger,” Hendrix said.

Heather Storey, local mental health program administrator at the Betty Hardwick Center, explained some of the mental health symptoms to watch out for in yourself and others.

“You sleep too much or you are just very tired. You are lazy or you know you are getting irritable. Little things really get to you, but it could be as big as a job loss, a financial loss, the loss of a loved one. Maybe even a suicide in your family,” Storey said.

Storey said if you have mental health issues you can seek help.

Mental health resources:

Ocean Behavioral Hospital: Home – Oceans Health

Government assistance: Home | MentalHealth.gov

Texas Psychology: Find the Best Therapists and Psychologists in Texas – Psychology Today


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