Alex Temich of Joliet, Roman's cousin said Roman, pictured above with his nieces, was a longtime and "pretty good" meat cutter at the Texas Roadhouse in Joliet.
"He got sent home from work about a week before it all happened," Alex said. "He wasn't feeling good and was told to take a few days off."
Alex, who also works at the Texas Roadhouse and subsequently tested negative for COVID-19, said he doesn't know where Roman caught the virus.
"Nobody at the restaurant had it," Alex said. "And we don't know anyone who had it."
Rebekka said Roman initially attributed the covid symptoms to allergies, since Roman had those, too. When the allergies didn't clear up, Roman decided he just had a cold.
"He did not want to get the test done; we told him to go," Alex said. "But he was one of the guys [and said] 'No, it's just a small cold.'"
Alex said a family friend started a GoFundMe account to help raise money to pay for expenses associated with Roman's illness and death, Alex said. The goal is to send Roman's remains back to Mexico, he said.
"He came up here in 2007 to get a job so he could help his parents in Mexico," Alex said.
Alex said Roman was "a pretty fun guy" both at work and outside of work.
"He was always happy, making jokes, laughing," Alex said.