LAFAYETTE, Colo. — The parking lot outside his gym looks as empty now as Myke Rivera feels.
"When it hits home, it just, man it sucks," Rivera said, shaking his head on the steps in front of 24 Hour Fitness in south Denver.
The gym manager misses what COVID-19 took from his business and his family.
“My stepfather, Dan Vigil in Lafayette, was infected with the virus and he passed away last Sunday [March 22]," Rivera said.
Sundays were the days Vigil, 68, shared with his stepson.
“I love talking about sports, you know. That was one of our things that we had in common," Rivera said. "We’d go have breakfast every Sunday.”
Rivera will miss his stepdad's cooking, too.
“The man was a great cook, you know," Rivera smiled. "He makes the best menudo I’ve ever had in my life.”
Vigil was "Papa Dan" to his 11 grandchildren. He was also the greatest comfort to Rivera's 5-year-old son, Mychal.
“I don’t know what it is, they were best friends," Rivera said. "They just had a unique bond."
COVID-19 started for Vigil with what felt like the flu. Soon, he had trouble breathing and eventually, Rivera said his mother, April had to call an ambulance.
Rivera said Vigil was taken to the hospital on March 15. He died a week later.
“We didn’t get a proper way to say goodbye through this whole process," Rivera said.
Rivera admitted there was a time he didn't give COVID-19 much thought.
“I was one of those guys that really didn’t take it serious, you know," he said. "Just kind of it’ll pass. It’ll take its course.”
It hit business before it hit home.
“Very tough and emotional for sure," Rivera nodded.
Rivera and his family need the community's help to heal the emptiness they feel without Vigil.
“Just do what’s right," Rivera said. "Let’s beat this virus together and it’s going to take everybody’s part.”
On Wednesday, Boulder County Public Health confirmed a Lafayette resident with underlying health issues had died after testing positive for COVID-19.
“Our hearts go out to this family,” Boulder County Public Health director Jeff Zayach said in a press release. “My hope is that we all view this heartbreaking news as a solemn warning about the importance of heeding the Stay-at-Home Order and social distancing requirements in order to prevent more tragedies like this.”
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: COVID-19 Coronavirus