OGDEN -- The atmosphere at Dee's Family Restaurant in Ogden is as quiet and inviting as it's been in 36 years of operation.
But in all that time, there have been episodes of trial and excitement for the employees and customers alike.
Five women who have each worked at Dee's for more than three decades sat down to recall what they've experienced.
Their stories range from being robbed and tied up at gunpoint to having a customer chose to turn to Dee's employees when he was dying.
Waitress Deb Hicks said it was shortly after the Hi-Fi murders that she found herself lying on the floor at the mercy of those who were robbing the restaurant.
"I said to myself, 'If I live through this, I'm going to never come back again,'" she said.
But she did come back, and she never left.
A second robbery two years ago was just as eventful.
The perpetrator shot into the floor and sent employees into another area.
The man was tracked and caught using the GPS on a cellphone he stole from a customer.
Manager Jolene Belt told of a seemingly deranged man who drank a few cups of coffee and then went outside and stripped.
She ran to the front doors, trying to hold them closed to keep the naked man from coming back inside the restaurant.
"Finally, a customer helped me," she said. "'You heard the lady. You are not coming in here,'" she recalls him saying.
She said her description of the man must have matched that of her husband, because her husband almost got arrested while picking up the man's clothes.
Hicks told of a man who was having a heart attack.
"He knew he didn't feel well, and he didn't want to be alone, so he drove here," she said.
He died holding waitress Di Noorlander's hand.
"It is hard," Hicks said. "Business goes on, no matter what."
The five employees say after working together so long, they've become as close as five sisters.
And they wouldn't have it any other way.
"We are sisters. You can't get rid of me," Belt said, looking at the other four. "This job brought us together, but we will be together for life."
"I feel closer to them than I do with my own family, because you see them more," Hicks said.
"It's our house," kitchen manager Wendy Cantone said of the restaurant. "That's what it is. It's our house."
And many stories they tell about their three decades together are the kind of stories families share.
They've enjoyed all-night parties and vacations together.
They celebrated and mourned with each other through the births of children, weddings, poor health, deaths and everything life brings in between.
And some of their favorite stories are about their customers, who have become like their extended family.
"We take care of them. They take care of us in weird ways," Belt said.
There's one man, a widower, who never misses being at the restaurant when it opens, they said. One time, he pulled into the parking lot just before the restaurant opened, and he was uptight, saying he was almost late.
They know he turns to them to keep himself from being lonely, but they also recognize that they have become something of a safety net for some customers, too.
"Your customers almost feel like family, because you see them every day," Hicks said.
The women have tracked longtime customers down when they didn't show up for their regular meals and have notified families when they thought the customers were in danger or in need.
And they enjoy telling stories of their own needs and problems, too.
Belt has had a couple of infamous falls.
"Jolene only has one gear, and it's fast," Noorlander said. She told of an incident where Belt ran into a pie case.
"Even the customers were laughing," she said.
There was another incident in which Belt appeared to be flying when she tripped over Noorlander, who was taking an order with her foot out.
"Now, whenever we fall, we play it on the security camera," Belt said.
Cantone said employees like to play these events over and over again in the back room for each other.
"It's like Hotel California," joked Nan Abel, waitress supervisor, of the crazy adventures she and her "sister" employees recall. "You can check out, but you can never leave."
Contact reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228 or email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter at @jfrancis.