Two amazing restaurant owners in Baltimore went to unbelievable lengths to grant one customer’s dying wish.
Her bucket list broccoli
Brandon Jones’ mother-in-law was in the final stage of lung cancer and refusing treatment, determined to live out her remaining days at home on her terms, with friends and family.
Over the years, she had fallen in love with the tempura broccoli dish from Ekiben restaurant in Fells Point, Maryland. Her daughter Rina — Brandon’s wife — recalls to the Baltimore Sun how her mom gushed over their food.
“When I’m on my deathbed, I want to have that broccoli”– Rina Jones, quoting her mother
Wanting to fulfill her wish, Jones emailed Ekiben’s owners, Steve Chu and Ephrem Abebe. Could they possibly share the recipe?
Chu instead replied that he and Adebe would like to personally make it for her.
A bit confused, Jones emailed back to clarify that his mother-in-law was a long way from Maryland.
“You do know that this is Vermont we’re talking about, right?”
“No problem,” Chu replied “You tell us the date, time and location and we’ll be there.”
An unforgettable experience
With that, Chu, Adebe and their colleague Joe Añonuevo loaded up a truck of tastiness en route to their No.1 fan. Rina also drove down to see it all unfold.
When the Ekiben crew pulled up to her Vermont home six hours and almost 500 miles later, they set up the fryer discretely in the back of the truck to keep their visit a surprise.
Although it took a few hours to get the fryer up to temperature due to the chilly Vermont air, in the end Chu says they cooked ” the most perfect tempura broccoli we ever made.”
The delicious food’s scent eventually sailed inside the house, and Rina tells the Today that it took her mom a few minutes to process what was happening.
“My mom kept saying, ‘I don’t understand — you drove all the way up here to cook for me?’”– Rina Jones
“She was so happy and touched to have that broccoli. She couldn’t believe it.”
A good deed is never too much work
Despite struggling to eat due to the sores in her mouth caused by her illness, Rina said her mom gobbled down every last bit of the broccoli and even downed spicy tofu bowls.
Rina said that she and her mom will forever be touched by the incredible gesture.
“My mom cried later about their generosity and so did I,” she said.
It’s something we’ll never forget — I’ll carry that positive memory with me, always.– Rina Jones
As for Chu, he’s says that he’s lucky just to be part of the whole experience.
“To me, it was a huge honor to be able to help fulfill the family’s wishes,” he said “This is about her, not us. There was a lot of good, positive energy in doing this.”
Many of us will weigh the effort required first and impact second when deciding whether to help someone in need. And let’s be honest, the threshold for most of us is pretty low.
However, if only we’d focus more on the life-changing impact our actions could have on someone else’s life, we’d act far more often than we do. Just ask the good people at Ekiben.
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