PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Miles separate Jeff Temperley from his closest family.
Temperley hopes to get the food truck running soon with help from his manager, but his return to the United States has no clear timetable.
"I'm in one place. My daughter is in another place in England. My wife is in Florida."
Months separate him from work.
"It was supposed to be a two week turnaround. Of course, I'm eleven weeks and counting now. I'm so screwed beyond belief."
Home sweet home? Hardly. The Panama City Beach restaurateur returned to England for vacation and a visa renewal. Now he's trapped in a never-ending nightmare.
"When President Trump closed the visas down, they had my passports for ten weeks," Temperley recalled. "They had all the information they needed. All they had to do was print the damn visas so I could get out of here. Last week, I got my passport returned to me with no visa. They said 'you can start again when he opens back up.'"
Pleas for help come from across the pond as well.
"We did have the help of Congressman Neal Dunn's office, tons of support of letters that were sent in by our customers asking for the embassy to hurry up."
Temperley stays in Withersfield with his parents and brother. His daughter stays 50 miles southeast in Clacton-on-Sea. Living arrangements are the only part of life settled.
"My wife is asthmatic, so this is a really dangerous time for her and I can't even be there to keep an eye on her."
Or his business. Temperley's British Eatery and Food Truck sit empty.
"We hadn't recovered from the hurricane yet. There's only so far you can go before you run out of money. I can't run a business from England."
With the help of his manager Krissy, he hopes to have the truck running soon.
"It's a great business. Everybody likes it and we're good at what we do."
And he loves the six people who do it for him. Taking care of that family is just as big a priority, even if it means taking on a partner and another job himself.
"I want the place to survive, and I want my people to still have a job. It doesn't matter what I do, be it brick masonry or plastering, window cleaning or power washing or painting. I've done that for 35 years. I can't do a thing until I get back in the country, and I can't get back in the country until they open up travel and they open up the visas."
For now...he waits for better times and better luck.
“I just need a lottery win...like everyone else," Temperley laughed. "It'd be my luck I'd win in Florida and not be allowed to claim it!”
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