The hospitality industry has arguably been the biggest casualty of the pandemic that continues to stalk the world and threaten lives. However, it hasn’t stopped many businesses from spreading cheer even in the midst of adversity. Now, an Asian restaurant’s kind gesture is winning hearts online. Going above and beyond and living up to the highest standards of service, the owners of the eatery drove for more than six hours to cook for a patient battling cancer.
Driving from Baltimore in Maryland to Vermont — nearly 850 kms away — the owners of Ekiben cooked for a woman battling stage four lung cancer. As it happened, a customer reached out to the eatery expressing concerns that their food “obviously will not taste the same after the long ride”. While he was looking for some hack or help, the restaurant owners had the most unexpected response.
The man explained on the private Facebook group ‘Canton Neighbors’ that anytime his mother-in-law would visit Baltimore, she would turn up at the eatery to try one dish in particular — Tempura Broccoli.
“Whenever she was in town, Ekiben’s tempura broccoli was something she always needed to have. She always joked that when she’s on her death bed that if there’’s anything in the world, she wants tempura broccoli from Ekiben,” he wrote online.
The family was visiting the ailing patient in Vermont this weekend to spend some time and potentially say their final goodbyes. “The drive to Vermont is 6 hours and tempura broccoli obviously will not taste the same after the long ride. I reached out to Ekiben’s owners to see if there was a way for us to either get the recipe or some of the ingredients to bring up and cook it for her,” he continued.
Steve Chu, one of the owners and chef at the establishment replied, “Thanks for reaching out. Ephrem and I are more than willing to meet you guys in Vermont and make the food fresh so it will be just like what she remembered.”
Touched by the thoughtful gesture, the man added, “I’m still in disbelief that they would go to such lengths.” He also informed that they were coordinating everything for a big surprise.
The post went viral across social media sites — from Reddit to Instagram, and got wider attention when Baltimore City Council member, Zeke Cohen shared the story on his handles.
“We hear a lot about the challenges of restaurants in Baltimore. Yet despite the pandemic, despite crime, some are still thriving. I always point to Ekiben as a business that always models respect for community and treats people with love. Plus, their food is amazing!” Cohen wrote, adding, “Read this, eat their tofu nuggets, and try not to cry!”
The restaurant owners did visit as promised and surprised the woman with a special treat. Her daughter told Good News Movement, that the kind restaurateurs didn’t accept any money for the food, fuel, or their stay. “The overwhelming generosity and gigantic hearts of these young men will make me warm and happy forever,” she added.
The chefs are earning plaudits online and many on the internet are vowing to pay them a visit whenever in Baltimore.
This is the best thing you’ll read all day. ❤️ https://t.co/p88eIiMpok
— (((Jennifer Mendelsohn))) (@CleverTitleTK) March 13, 2021
Bawlmer, guys. This city deserves so much. Headed to Ekiben with my children once we can get on a ✈️ https://t.co/0vbmVOms2Y
— Amreena Hussain (@amreenah) March 14, 2021
Oh my, what kindness. Inspirational. https://t.co/GmCu7yBqU6
— StageElf (@StageElf) March 14, 2021
— WHY ARENT WE CALLING TREASON TREASON ANYMORE? (@tommg12_tom) March 14, 2021
— Jack Shannon (@jacktshannon) March 14, 2021
I would like to dedicate my remaining oxygen to Steve and Ephrem. https://t.co/zU2oTlLMnI
— Melissa Wimbish (@melissawimbish) March 13, 2021
This just gives you hope in humanity ❤️ https://t.co/jS202zOXsL
— LAVeganNative 🏹 🧜♀️🐬🐳🐋🌊 (@LAVeganNative) March 14, 2021
I’ve seen this story 100 times today and I have cried 100 times https://t.co/VjNdSmzr3H
— Tommy Bahama (@MyNameIsJen) March 13, 2021
Truly honorable @EkibenBaltimore. I’ve been hearing about you guys for a while and haven’t made it out, but that just moved way up in my priority list.
— A.P. Nah 🇭🇹 (@A_P_Nah) March 13, 2021
Sometimes the world seems so full of suffering and we feel powerless to make it less so. Every once in a while, opportunities present themselves – we just have to pay attention. https://t.co/RnDpxiHVjY
— Annie Dotson (@AnneMDotson) March 12, 2021
— abigaileisley (@abigaileisley) March 12, 2021
Shout out to this amazing Baltimore restaurant. @EkibenBaltimore showing how compassion and respect for every human is done. Remarkable in these stressful pandemic times. This is the bar we should all try to rise to. https://t.co/WC0eeM9ABi
— Dr. Tracy Bale (@TheBaleLab) March 12, 2021