My wife is from Singapore.
Her religion is Taoist, and she’s a big believer in the basic Chinese version of karma.
“If you do good things, good things will happen to you.”
A while back we were both doing a course in a programme called Landmark Education.
As her project, Cathy wanted to raise money for the third world.
She decided what she’d like to do is have a stall selling noodles in Camden Town market over the weekend.
She wanted to call it “Oodles of Noodles”.
So she started asking people to help.
First she got her friend, Bridgette, involved.
Together they went to see the people who run Camden Lock.
They agreed to let them have a prime space, next to the lock itself.
Then she started to get other people involved.
Her friend, Carin, embroidered a massive banner, featuring a huge dragon, for the stall.
Next, she contacted Waitrose and explained the project.
They agreed to give her hundreds of eggs for free.
Next she got The New Covent Garden Flower Market to give here loads of huge palm leaves for free, to decorate the stall.
She flew her mum and sister over from Singapore to help serve the noodles.
She got our son and daughter, and their friends, to distribute leaflets all over Camden.
Once they knew it was for the third world, everyone wanted to help.
But the most amazing contribution was from someone we’d never met before.
Cathy was asking everyone where she could borrow any cooking equipment.
One of her friends told here about a Korean guy called Kim.
Kim didn’t speak much English, but he had a little Korean café in Golders Green.
Cathy met him and explained that she was doing a charity event to raise money for the third world.
Once Kim heard that, he made everything happen.
He provided the gas burners to cook the food on.
He provided the trestle tables for the stall.
He let Cathy have the use of his van to collect and deliver everything.
He told Cathy where to get the noodles at cost price.
Also crates of Coke, and Tango, and Perrier.
Also all the Pac Choy, and the Choy Sum.
He took her to the warehouse, showed her what to buy, and collected it all in his van.
Absolutely everything Cathy needed to set up and sell noodles.
Every time she said “Do you know where I can get…”
In broken English, Kim would say “No problem, I can do that…”
And on the day, everything went perfectly.
The sun was shining.
Everyone in Camden was hungry and thirsty.
The leaflets that the kids handed out did their job, and people queued all day.
Cathy, and her family and friends, sold noodles and drinks until there wasn’t a single thing left.
After it was all over Cathy was able to give over £2,000 to Oxfam.
It was a big success.
But an even bigger success was Kim.
He spent all day cooking.
Then clearing up.
Then delivering everything in his van, non-stop.
He didn’t stop working.
Cathy used to say to me “You wait and see, good things will happen to him.”
And it was true.
Kim still has his little Korean café in Golders Green.
But, after helping at Camden Lock, he started opening Korean Sushi takeaway outlets.
Maybe you’ve seen them.
They’re called WASABI, and they’ve sprung up everywhere.
They’re clean and bright and hygienic.
The food is top quality (better than expensive Sushi restaurants).
But it’s also really cheap.
They are in the busiest locations around London.
All the major streets and railway stations.
There are over twenty of them now.
There’s three in Oxford Street alone, one in Piccadilly, in the O2 Arena, in Brompton Road, on the Embankment, Victoria Station, Liverpool Street Station, Waterloo Station, Paternoster Row, Warren Street, Finsbury Pavement, Canary Wharf, Old Broad Street, Fleet Street, High Holborn, Victoria Street, Kingsway, and Regents Place.
Ever time we go past one there’s always a queue stretching out of the shop and onto the pavement.
We haven’t seen much of Kim since that day in Camden Lock.
I think he’s probably too busy.
But every time we go past a bright, buzzy WASABI, Cathy always looks knowingly at me.
And she always says the same thing: “See, if you do good things, good things will happen to you.”