A restaurant owner who says that Anthony Bourdain changed his life has donated over $70,000 to suicide prevention causes.
New York City Chinese restaurant Xi'an Famous Foods got a huge boom in business after being featured on Bourdain's series No Reservations, thus forever altering the trajectory of the small hand-pulled-noodles stand.
Jason Wang, the current CEO — and son of the business' founder — revealed the plan to make the donation on Twitter, announcing that Xi'an Famous Foods would donate the June 8 sales from all 12 of their locations to fight suicide.
Today's a day of extreme sadness for us here at Xi'an Famous Foods. I've lost a dear friend today, and we mourn with the rest of the world. I remember the time in 2007 when Tony first visited our basement food stall in Flushing for Travel Channel's No Reservations while I was... pic.twitter.com/z7FBcWnMID— Xi'an Famous Foods (@xianfoods) June 8, 2018
"Today's a day of extreme sadness for us here at Xi'an Famous Foods. I've lost a dear friend today, and we mourn with the rest of the world," Wang wrote in a memorial to the late chef. "I remember the time in 2007 when Tony first visited our basement food stall in Flushing for Travel Channel's No Reservations while I was still in college (even though I didn't know who he was at the time).
Wang then continued his heartfelt memorial to Bourdain by recounting how the CNN host's presence impacted his family's business.
"I remember my father preparing interesting off-menu dishes to get his opinion on when he visited our store," Wang recalled. "I remember years later in 2015 after interviewing together for an article, I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food, I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing to living the American dream.
"We were able to grow our business and provide great food for our guests, and opportunities for our employees," Wang added. "I looked at him in the eyes and said, 'This is something we will always be thankful for, Tony.' And he simply replied, 'I'm just calling out good food like it is, that's all.' "
Finally, Wang made the donation announcement. "In honor of his memory and all of those dear people who left us all too early, and in taking whatever action we can to prevent suicide in the US, Xi'an Famous Foods will be donating 100% of our net sales on today, Friday, June 8, 2018, from all of our stores, to [The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline]," Wang shared.
As has been widely reported, Bourdain reportedly took his own life on Friday, June 8, after suffering from depression and mental health issues.
In closing, Wang encouraged all his followers to "please cherish all of our lives and help those who may be struggling" before sharing one last personal message to Bourdain and his family. "Rest in peace, Tony, and the most sincere condolences to Tony's beloved family."
Buzzfeed reports that Wang had initially expected to donate somewhere between $50,000 or $60,000, but that the amount ended up being over $70,000.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).