Kindness, Delivered
Reader's Digest US|September 2021
THE E-MAIL REQUEST came into Ekiben restaurant in Baltimore late on a Thursday afternoon in March: tempura broccoli topped with fresh herbs, diced onion, and fermented cucumber vinegar—with a twist. The man who sent the e-mail didn’t actually want the food itself. He was writing on behalf of his mother-in-law, who adored the dish. He went on to explain that she was now in the final stages of lung cancer at her home Steve Chu, one of the Asian fusion restaurant’s co-owners, read the e-mail and quickly replied with an alternative suggestion. “Thanks for reaching out,” he wrote. “We’d like to meet you in Vermont and make it fresh for you.”
Cathy Free

Brandon Jones, the son-in-law, was stunned. “I e-mailed back, saying, ‘You do know that this is Vermont we’re talking about, right?’ ” says Brandon. “But Steve responded, ‘No problem. You tell us the date, time, and location and we’ll be there.’”

For the past six years, every time Brandon’s mother-in-law (who asked that her name not be published) visited Baltimore, the first place she wanted to go was Ekiben so she could order that one dish. “She loves that broccoli, and I really wanted her to have it one more time,” Brandon says.

“She had always told us, ‘When I’m on my deathbed, I want to have that broccoli,’” recalls Brandon’s wife, Rina Jones.

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