Mystery of Giffords' "Toy" reference revealed
Giffords had few words, but one of them was for a beloved friend
In her first interview since the January 8th mass shooting, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords remembered a favorite waitress who died one day before the incident Video by kgun9.comvideo
Giffords was one of many charmed by Toi Barker, a beloved waitress who died the day before Giffords was shot
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Since the January 8th shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has worked hard to walk and to speak but her mind and her memories seem to be strong, sharp and vivid.
Giffords' interview on ABC, highlighted her special memory of a certain restaurant and a very special waitress.
In Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords first interview, ABC's Diane Sawyer brought her back to the night before the January 8th shooting.
She stopped for dinner at Char's Thai restaurant.
Sawyer said: "I asked about that night before."
Giffords immediately said: "Toi...Toi."
Sawyer said, "I thought maybe I'd confused her."
Giffords was not confused. She was remembering she learned that night, Toi Barker, a favorite waitress, had died.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Toi's husband Steve Barker: "What's that experience like to know that with all the things Gabrielle Giffords is struggling to remember and express, she remembers your late wife?"
Barker: "It wasn't the fact that she had remembered it, it was the way. I'm watching the special and the person asking the question was asking about something at the restaurant and Gabby went, 'Toi!', just popped it out. It surprised me, the way it happened, it surprised me."
In more than 20 years at Char's Thai, Toi Barker was friend, and honorary sister or mother to so many, Gabrielle Giffords was one of many mourning her loss.
The night before the January 8th shooting, the shock of losing Toi was still very fresh. She died the morning of January 7th. She'd only been ill a few days.
Craig Smith said to Steve Barker:"So, the day after you lose your wife you hear about this other horrible thing happening, what is that like?
Barker: "It was horrible."
For Steve Barker, the mass shooting just compounded the feelings he and his sons were grappling with after their loss.
The restaurant is still full of Toi's spirit, right down to the photo collages she assembled so patrons could be entertained by photos of Elvis, or Marilyn Monroe while they were waiting for dinner.
But for Steve Barker seeing Giffords remember his wife....
"I had a hard time talking...It's kicking in again...hard a hard time talking because of all the old memories it dragged back..and dragging back again."
We asked Steve Barker what he'd like to say to Gabrielle Giffords if he could. He said he knows some people are saying she should resign or not run for re-election but he wants her to know ---even though he's a Republican---if she feels she's ready to go back to Congress she should go for it.