DES PLAINES, Ill. (CBS) — A 21-year-old Crystal Lake man staged a one-man protest Friday morning over the permanent closing this weekend of the Des Plaines Oasis along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. The reason will do doubt come as a surprise.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports Kevin Walters chained himself to the door of the oasis, and said to understand why, you have to go back more than two decades.
“It is a weird story, I must admit. About 21 years ago, my parents were at a Phil Collins concert here in Chicago, and one thing led to another. They ended up at the oasis … and I was conceived there,” he said.
Asked how his parents went about telling him that, Walters said “it just sort of came out just randomly in conversation.”
“They were like, ’Oh yeah, hey, we never really told you how you were born, or your conception,’ and my parents are weird people, so it’s not that surprising,” he said.
Walters said the oasis is part of his life, and he hates to see it close.
Sunday is the last day of business for the Des Plaines Oasis, which will be torn out as part of a plan to widen the Addams Tollway. The gas stations will remain, but the fast food joints and other shops will be gone.
Oasis regulars are not happy.
“You can stop and eat lunch midday if you have to, or you can come after your sales calls during the day,” said Jim Day, a traveling salesman who stops there four or five days a week. “You can stop in and check emails, and return phone calls, and return emails. It’s very convenient.”
Roman, a contractor, said he stops by even more often.
“I’m using it once a day for sure. Every time I have a job going towards Streamwood, the northwest suburbs, I stop here all the time,” she said.
The oasis opened in 1959, offering motorists an easy spot to gas up, grab a bite to eat, or take a nap.
Essentially a strip mall on a bridge over the Addams Tollway, it is home to a Tollway customer service center, a 7-Eleven, a McDonald’s, a Panda Express, a Starbucks, a Taco Bell Express, a KFC Express, a Subway, a Sbarro, an Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop, a Baskin-Robbins, a Mobil gas station, a Best Buy Express kiosk, an ATM, a charging station for electric vehicles, and a Travel Mart newsstand. It also offers free wi-fi access.