DALLAS (WUSA9) — Don’t let the bustling kitchen or the packed parking lot fool you. Nothing will be normal at Norma’s café; probably for a good, long time. Officer Brent Thompson, known simply as “Brent” here, is dead.

Thompson, 43, was a father, grandfather, and newly-married officer for DART, the Dallas-Area Rapid Transit system. He was the first officer from that agency ever killed in the line of duty. He was also a regular at Norma’s, dropping in for breakfast once or twice a week for years.

“He was a very caring man. He was always joking. He was very loving. He was like the life of the party. Never had a somber face,” recalled Pam Spell, the general manager. “He was just awesome, awesome.”

Spell remembers her final conversation with Thompson, just a few weeks ago.

“Brent was gonna get married. All his colleagues were here and they were all teasing him that when he gets married he was gonna, “Wha-pa!” He was gonna be whipped,” Spell laughs. “And they laughed, and I believe that’s when they took that picture of him, here.”

The picture she refers to, with a tiny bit of red Norma’s booth poking out from behind Thompson, in his uniform, is the same picture aired on the news here. The picture Spell saw, and knew her friend was dead.

“I’ve been up since 2 a.m.,” she said Friday night. “Ever since his picture came up.”

In those hours, Spell and her staff have been cooking food and transporting it to Dallas police stations – feeding her regulars, her family – who are too busy to drop by.

“I’m so proud to be friends with them,” Spell said. “It’s an honor. I cherish every moment.”