The owners of the restaurant Ekiben in Baltimore, Steve Chu and Ephrem, drove to Vermont to surprise a customer with broccoli tempura.
Steve Chu and Ephrem run a restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, called Ekiben. In 2021, they and their worker Joe found out that a customer with stage 4 cancer really wanted some of their famous broccoli tempura. The customer lived about 500 miles away, which was the only problem. She asked Chu for the recipe because of this. But instead of just giving her the recipe, the restaurant owner drove six hours to her house to make the broccoli tempura for her. Good News Movement says that Chu’s small act of kindness has since gone viral.
His story went viral after the customer’s daughter-in-law wrote about it on a Facebook group for people who live in Baltimore, Maryland called Canton Neighbors. “My mother-in-law lives in Vermont and would visit my wife and her sister throughout the years,” they explained. “Whenever she was in town, Ekiben’s tempura broccoli was something that 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.” In December 2020, she was told she had stage 4 lung cancer, which made things worse. So, she has been getting treatment, even though it has “greatly reduced the quality of her life.” Ekiben’s broccoli tempura was the only thing that could make her feel better.
The daughter-in-law had planned to go from Maryland to Vermont. They told us, “We’re making a trip up this weekend to potentially say our goodbyes and enjoy some time with her. The drive to Vermont is six hours and tempura broccoli obviously will not taste the same after the long ride.” So, they asked the owners of Ekiben if they could get the recipe or some of the ingredients so they could make it for her. In their own words, the number of responses they got was “overwhelming.”
“Thanks for reaching out,” Chu reportedly responded. “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.” So, the two of them and one of their employees, Joe, drove out to the state to surprise the customer and make her day. The daughter-in-law said, “I’m still in disbelief that they would go to such lengths. There’s still hope for humanity. If you haven’t tried Ekiben, do so. This gesture alone speaks volumes.”
When Good News Movement found out about Chu’s kind act, they put him on their Instagram page. Since then, he has gotten dozens of messages of thanks. One person on Instagram wrote, “If Baltimore doesn’t pay this forward to the restaurant I’d be surprised. It’s a city of amazing people. But the owner and employees are the finest examples.” The customer sang Ekiben and its owners praise: “The overwhelming generosity and gigantic hearts of these young men will make me warm and happy forever.”