Bonds of friendship leading White Center restaurant to give back

WHITE CENTER, Wash. -- Right now it's easy to get overwhelmed by bad news, but there are countless stories of hope, selflessness and good people trying to help each other out.

You see the passion when someone is doing what they love.

“I am the owner of Anju Bar and Eatery, it’s a Korean inspired bar food.”

Sam Jo is working from 8 in the morning until 9 at night.

“It’s mostly a one man show,” Jo said.

It’s the only way his White Center restaurant isn’t decimated by COVID-19, a virus that’s stolen the life we all know.

“Just taken away like that I don’t know when it’s coming back,” Jo said.

But Jo’s story is not about a pandemic, it’s about friendship. Jo received to his surprise a collection of video messages from friends from all over the country.

“Hang in there,” said one friend.

Words of hope and love coming one after another.

“Give kimchi pancakes to all of Seattle,” said another friend.

But friends and even some who don’t know Sam followed up with those words with something more tangible.

“He is the individual that’s always doing stuff for other people,” close friend Tad Frost said.

Frost from Florida and two other friends started raising money.

“If we were in the same position he was in he would be the first to do it for us,” Frost said.

In 24 hours they generated more than $8,000 for Anju, leaving Jo speechless, then in tears.

Jo sent a thank you video to all of his friends where he told them he was feeling things he has never felt before.

“I’ve been incredibly humbled and grateful for everything you’ve done,” Jo said.

And true to what Frost said about his friend, Jo started using the money to make nutritious meals for health care workers instead of overhead costs.

“I can’t possibly understand what you are going through it’s a small token of our gratitude,” Jo said.

That gratitude has already been delivered to Harborview Medical Center, Swedish, and Virginia Mason.

Now Jo’s story is not just about friendship it’s about giving back.

As for Jo’s business, he is relying on curbside delivery orders to keep Anju alive. And although he is barely getting by, he remains hopeful.