A Mellow Night: Homelessness To Karma Kitchen Dollar

Posted by neerav on May 22, 2007
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At Karma Kitchen this week, due to unforseen circumstances, I was fortunate enough to serve as the Maitre'D for the evening. I spent a great deal of time trying to understand how to "make" the role mine and put my own spin on it. I think by the second half of the evening I had finally settled down. :) Of all the nights I have worked at Karma Kitchen this might've been the most mellow.

There were several interesting moments that I would like to share.

The first was meeting a friend of a friend who was so passionate about the concept and what Karma Kitchen was doing he wanted to work on integrating it in with a project he is planning. His project would see him growing vegetables and filming a documentary showing how to go from the garden to a full meal. He thought about how it could be brought full circle by bringing the vegetables that he grows in his garden to Karma Kitchen to use in our meals.

Someone asked me how we deal with homeless people coming into the restaurant and asking for food. That reminded me of a situation that Sukh encountered at the Long Beach Seva Cafe. I proceeded to tell this table the story of a homeless man either entering the restaurant and deciding to sit outside or just lingering outside the restaurant. Sukh noticed the man and proceeded to bring him a meal and sat on the curb while the man ate; he explained the concept of Seva Cafe and how the man's meal had already been paid for and he would have the opportunity to pay for the meal after him. When Sukh left and returned the man had left some change, which led Sukh to realize that this man had left everything he had at that moment in an effort to help pay for someone elses' meal. When I told this story at the table the women looked at me with shock and said how it gave them chills to hear such a compassionate story. They also proceeded to tell me about how this was one of the top 5 Indian restaurant experiences they had had in the Bay Area. Many people have commented on how they love the food and the experience because it feels like home.

Finally at the end of the night when Trushna and I were at home counting out the money she opened one envelope and her mouth just fell open. Inside the envelope was enough cash to pay for well over the two people that the receipt said had eaten at the table. What was more amazing was that on each of the crisp new bills they had written "karmakitchen.org Pay It Forward" along the border of the bill.

Thank you to all that rose to the occasion and made Saturday come off so smoothly.

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