An evening conversation: Paying it forward

By Stephen Cameron

EVERY SO often, people who put words together for a living will say: “Boy, that story was so good, it just wrote itself.”

We don’t mean that literally. Well, hardly ever.

Our chat tonight is one of those, the kind I’ve only had the pleasure to introduce a couple of times through several decades of journalism.

There’s nothing I could say that would add to this letter from a nice lady named Lisa McCrann.

She sent it a couple days after I met her while giving a talk at the Riley County Seniors’ Service Center. And now you can feel good right along with me.

Take it away, Lisa…

It was a pleasure meeting you the other day at the Senior Center. I was the redhead wearing the green sweater with the 60th birthday coming up.  

Since I was 15 years old, my brother Mike McCrann has taken me down to Aggieville to the Hibachi Hut to celebrate my birthday. For the last 44 years, I have celebrated my birthday at the Hibachi Hut.  

I was really disappointed when they announced the closing of the Hibachi Hut in May. That has been an institution in Manhattan ever since John and Margaret Anderson opened it in the late 1950s.  

When I heard that Mr. Ward Morgan had purchased the Hibachi Hut and was relocating it to downtown Manhattan, I was ecstatic.  

The Hibachi Hut was supposed to open in December, but due to construction delays, they won’t be open until February.  

Last Sunday I called Mr. Morgan at home and explained the situation that I was turning 60 on Saturday, Jan. 11, and that I had celebrated my birthday at Hibachi Hut for almost 45 years and was hoping to continue the tradition.

He told me that maybe something could be worked out.  

To my surprise, I received a call from Mark Mosen, the new manager of the Hibachi Hut, and he said that they wanted to help me keep my Hibachi Hut tradition alive — and that they would open for me and my party Saturday night at 6:30.  

It would also help them out practicing with their servers.  

Mr. Morgan didn’t have to do this for me, but I am so happy and thankful that he did.  

In the meantime, I sent a Facebook post to my friends who had many a good time at the old Hibachi Hut, and are looking forward to the reopening of the new Hibachi Hut.  

As I stated earlier, Mr. Morgan didn’t have to do this — but he did, and I thank him.  

He will be getting lots of new customers as a result of his “Paying it Forward.”


SEE WHAT I mean?

Lisa’s e-mail just makes you feel a little better about people in general, doesn’t it?

And as a bonus, I want to add that I used to eat at the Hibachi Hut myself back in the day – it was a ritual whenever I visited Manhattan.

So yes, I’ve been waiting for it to re-open, too.

Now I’m even more enthused about being a customer.

Thank you, Lisa and Ward.

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