Family Featured on 'Parts Unknown' Gets Gift From Anthony Bourdain 1 Day Before His Death


By now, we’ve had some time to come to terms with the fact that Anthony Bourdain, the man and the legend, has passed from this world.

His death has caused a stir among his army of fans, and even those who’ve only caught a few shows or know about him by extension have seen the toll his passing has had on the people around them.

Bourdain taught his viewers so much. He let us travel to places we’ll never go and gave us a small taste of cuisines we could barely imagine.

Even right before his death, he was reaching out to people and touching them, being his generous self despite the darkness he was going through.

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One of those moments resulted in a small gift that is quickly becoming a cherished heirloom. Bob and Linda McKinney from McDowell County in West Virginia certainly weren’t expecting the memento they received or the timing with which that memento reached them.

It was on Thursday, the day before Bourdain’s passing, that the McKinneys received a package.

The McKinneys, who had been featured in an episode of “Parts Unknown” in 2017, expected the box to contain a set of DVDs or some similar show memorabilia.

When they opened it, it was just a humble lunch cooler. What jazzed it up, though, was Bourdain’s signature on the cooler and the story behind it.

Linda posted photos and a description on her Facebook page the same day they received the cooler.

“In September when Anthony Bourdain visited McDowell County to film for Parts Unknown he borrowed Bob McKinneys (sic) lunch bucket to travel underground,” she wrote.

“Wellllll he left it underground in the mines. For a few days Bob had to carry a little Tupperware container to work until we could purchase him a new bucket.”

“Today a package arrived. To our surprise Bourdain sent a new autographed lunch bucket!! Look at that smile on my hunnys (sic) face.”

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Bourdain had remembered them and the cooler he’d lost, and he wanted to repay the couple. He’d written, “To Bob, with many thanks, Anthony Bourdain.”

The McKinneys were understandably shocked when Friday rolled around and they caught news of their celebrity friend.

“It’s devastating. We hadn’t turned the television on that morning,” Linda said. “I was in shock. We’re just shattered.”

“Bob and I were just sitting here talking about it,” Linda added. “People have been calling and texting us. It’s just so hard to believe. It’s unreal. You never know. He was only in my home for a brief time, and he was the kind of person you felt like you knew forever. He was just so easy to talk to.”

Linda expressed her sympathy for Bourdain’s daughter and said it would take a while for her to process what had happened. But the small cooler will stay in the McKinney’s china cabinet: a reminder of the man who was so thoughtful, even in his final days.

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