Christine Schoefer: What About Me?

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Sometimes, small acts of kindness are overwhelmed by a world in need. Christine Schoefer has this Perspective.

My brother Mark is an excellent cook. He’s always trying out new recipes and sometimes he runs them by me. What do you think of pan-seared steak with cognac drizzle? Blackened salmon? Oven roasted Brussel sprouts with fish sauce or sweet and sour red cabbage? His meals require planning, long ingredient lists, focused shopping. Then there’s the stove and oven work to develop a symphony of flavors. No one goes hungry. Leftovers are a happy fact of life.

Mark is also a passionate eater who seeks out other people’s cooking in restaurants and food trucks. On this day, he ordered Wonton soup and Mongolian Beef – but it was all too much. He asked for a to-go container, a fresh set of chopsticks and an extra cookie and then drove to a particular corner on San Pablo Avenue.

Sure enough, the young man is there, sitting on the sidewalk next to his dog. “Hey, man. Brought you some Chinese food. No dog treats this time, but there’s a fortune cookie.”

The man opens the container, unwraps the chopsticks, and starts eating. ”Thanks, man. This is good. I’m hungry.”



Walking back to his car, Mark hears an unfamiliar voice shouting from the opposite corner. “Hey, what about me?”

He tells the stranger to wait for 30 minutes and goes home to get leftovers from yesterday’s dinner, pasta with marinara sauce. Mark heats the pasta, adds tuna for protein, spoons everything into a container and grates cheese on top.

The stranger smiles when Mark returns. He takes the food, fork and napkin, inhales the tomato scent. Thanks, man.”

Feeling lifted by his small act of kindness, Mark walks back to the car. From a doorway, a woman calls out to him:Hey, what about me?”

With a Perspective, I’m Christine Schoefer.

Christine Schoefer is a San Francisco writer.