DESTIN — A local man was struck and killed Wednesday morning while riding his electric scooter to work.
Joel Iral, 51, died after his scooter was struck by a car at 7:48 a.m. near Airport Road and Main Street in Destin, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office.
Both westbound lanes of Airport Road were closed for about three hours while sheriff's deputies investigated the crash.
A co-worker told the Daily News that Iral was a dishwasher at Jim ‘N Nick's barbecue restaurant and a kitchen steward at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Destin.
“He always had a smile on his face, and you knew when you saw him it was going to be a good day at the workplace,” said Corey Kovarik, who worked with Iral at Ruth’s Chris. “He was such an awesome dude. … I sure will miss my buddy.”
“He always went out of his way to help people,” said Kim Spainhoward, a server at Jim 'N Nick's. “He wasn’t just an employee; he was family.”
Kindness and generosity seemed to be a staple for Iral, who originally was from the Philippines.
Ruston Johnson, another co-worker at Ruth’s Chris, said Iral cooked Filipino food for everyone every Thursday.
He was also named employee of the month in 2018, but instead of using his gift certificate award on himself, Iral gave it to one of his friends who had never eaten at Ruth’s Chris.
“He always put everyone else first and would do anything for you,” Johnson said. “He had a huge heart and loved by everyone here at Ruth’s Chris Steak House.”
The Sheriff's Office was still investigating the crash later Wednesday.