The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Posted by Kozo Hattori on Nov 28, 2017
2061 reads  
After four years, I'm still in awe of ServiceSpace. Not casual, leisure-time awe, but jaw-to-the-floor, rock-your-world awe.

This weekend, my son, Jett, and I went to Karma Kitchen. Jett loves Karma Kitchen even though it is an hour drive each way on a Sunday when he could be playing video games. I have a feeling that he thrives off the energy and smiles, but he also really likes the food. :)

After making the rounds of hugs from Joserra, Richard, Audrey, Fab, Sangeeta, Maya, and so many others, we sat down to eat. Samantha, our server, was so calm and smooth that it settled Jett down when he was starving.

While stuffing himself with buttered naan, Jett asked, "Dad, does this restaurant serves the same food when it is not Karma Kitchen and charge for it?"

"Yes, son, it is called Taste of the Himalayans," I replied.

"How much does it cost to eat here when it is not Karma Kitchen?" Jett surveyed our two plates full of delicious food.

"A lot, I think. Each of these plates would be over 13 dollars," I guessed.

"We are so lucky to have Karma Kitchen," said the hungry ten-year-old.

During the meal, I began to think about Jett's question. I usually pay forward 10 dollars per meal when we eat at Karma Kitchen. I used to think this was a generous offering, but then I realized that this meal with mango lassis, naan, and dessert would cost way over 10 dollars per person.

The pre-ServiceSpace me began to feel guilty. "I need to even the scales by paying a lot more at Karma Kitchen," I thought.

I was struggling with this dilemma when our check came with the all-too-familiar 0.00 bill. Not having enough cash, I put my credit card in the leather bill case and handed it our smiling server.

Waiting for the bill to return, I tried to calculate how much I could afford to give. I was balancing car payments, Christmas gifts, and higher winter electricity bills with how many times my family had dined at Karma Kitchen at a discounted rate, when Samantha brought the black leather holder back.

There was no slip to sign, only my credit card and the 0.00 bill.

"I think there is a mistake. They did not charge my credit card," I said approaching Samantha.

"Oh, then your meal is already paid for," said Samantha with a smile.

"No, no," I said. "I need to pay." I pushed my credit card towards her.

"Please receive this generosity," she said looking into my eyes.

I almost cried.

On the drive home, I told Jett how our meal was paid for by an anonymous stranger.

"That's great," he said and kept playing with his rubric's cube.

I am so grateful that random acts of kindness are pretty common for my sons. They have experienced HarshidaAunty and DineshUncle's generosity and warmth many times at the Kindness Temple.

But I just couldn't get over it. "Who are these people? How did they know what I was thinking? What did I do to deserve this?"

I am so grateful to have found this community. You give me hope and faith in humanity. You are helping to raise my sons. You make life worth living.

With Deep Gratitude,

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Comments (2)

  • Elizabeth wrote ...

    Kozo/ thank you for sharing this beautiful reflection on an amazing act of kindness at Karma Kitchen. It is incredible to see (often hear) the ripples of laughter/joy/kindness people participate in Karma Kitchen; especially, the magic that emerges when needed. I am so grateful that you were a recipient of kindness last November at KK Berkeley; more often, I witness how much kindness you give to people through your smiles, words of wisdom (guidance) and positive energy.

  • Sheetal Sanghvi wrote ...

    Thanks for giving us an insight into the inner workings of your beautiful mind