British expats in Tampa react to deadly London terror attack

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Today’s violence may have happened more than 4,000 miles away but it’s yet another attack that’s having a ripple effect across the world and that includes here in the Tampa Bay area.

The owners of Café European, who were both born in England, once owned a restaurant in the heart of London and now they own a restaurant on Westshore Boulevard in South Tampa.

In the wake of the attack, they have mixed emotions. They’re horrified but at the same time, they tell News Channel 8 they’re not completely surprised.

“To see this, it’s just horrible,” Michael Vanderburg said as he watched the news unfold on the television. “Horrible.”

Vanderburg and his wife, Suzy, kept an eye on their customers but couldn’t help but keep their eyes on the television as the death toll continued to rise.

“Well, I’m shocked, you know,” Michael told News Channel 8. “It’s my hometown. It’s devastating.”

“Obviously you’re worried about people that you know and work in the city,’ Suzy said, as she worked behind the counter.

The couple were born in England and lived there for decades. They know all too well about the unrest and attacks by the Irish Republican Army and it’s something they became accustomed to.

“So we’re kind of, we’re kind of used to it,” Michael recalled. “You get a little bit, sort of, not blasé, but you kind of get used to living like that.”

But this attack, as well as Britain’s deadliest, the coordinated series of explosions on July 7th, 2005 that killed dozens and injured hundreds, has many, they believe, prepared for the worst.

“Horrified, as usual, but the people of London are always very together, are always expecting something like this and they’re usually very calm and collected,” Suzy told News Channel 8.

Michael even worked just around the corner from where today’s attack took place.

He and Suzy know that people are afraid but there’s nothing they can do but stick to their daily routine.

When asked what their thoughts are for all those people affected in today’s attacked, Suzy said, “Horrible. It really is horrible. It’s just too much going on throughout the world. It’s so mindless. So unnecessary and it doesn’t accomplish anything.”

 

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