Family, friends and customers are mourning the loss of Maria Esther Valdiva, the matriarch of a popular Silver Lake taqueria, after she was struck by a car last week and died several days later.
The incident happened on May 22, at around 1 p.m., at the intersection Cross Street and Glendale Boulevard in Echo Park.
“I feel horrible. I can’t believe it at times. I have moments where I just break down,” Irma Gonzalez, Valdiva’s daughter, told KTLA.
Gonzalez said she’s used to walking into work at Tacos Delta and seeing her mother.
“My mom was more than a mom,” she said. “We saw her every day. We worked with her every day.”
Valdiva had worked at Tacos Delta since the day it opened in 1981. She was the mother of four children, had 14 grandchildren and one great grandchild. Her daughter said that Valdiva was still very active and at the time of the crash, she’d had her bags packed for a girls’ trip to Cabo.
“My mom was healthy. My mom was full of life,” Gonzalez said. “She wasn’t just any grandma…very independent woman, (a) strong woman.”
After Valdiva failed to pick up her grandchildren from school last Monday, her kids grew concerned. They found her in the hospital suffering from severe head injuries. She died two days later.
“They took my mom. They took a grandma away from her grandchildren,” her daughter said. “Our life is upside down.”
Customers have been stopping by Tacos Delta, a Silver Lake landmark, and leaving flowers and cards. Valdiva was beloved by those in the neighborhood who knew her.
Gonzalez said that her mother was the kind to give to those in need without hesitation.
“Cancer Society, Children’s Hospital St. Jude, the animal shelter. She was just a person to give,” Gonzalez explained. “She always helped the homeless, anybody that would ask her for money. You never know why they’re there. You have to be compassionate and help others. We will follow her legacy of helping.”
Tacos Delta plans to hold a memorial for Valdiva, which they will announce on Instagram.
As for police, they have yet to release any information about the crash.
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