A Mexican food chain was so inspired by a student’s essay, it donated $100,000 to his mother’s cancer treatment.
Fue Xiong had already won a $20,000 scholarship from Chipotle for his essay that detailed his experience with hunger as a five-year-old Hmong refugee in a Thailand relocation camp. The Chipotle contest, Cultivating Thought, asked people to write about a time that food left a lasting memory.
Xiong wrote about the last meal he had in the camp — three raw sardines and two handfuls of rice shared between 10 people. When he asked his mother if she’d salted the fish, she told him she hadn’t — he was tasting his own tears.It was the last supper before his family left for America.
Twelve years later, he wrote the essay as a high school senior, after already enlisting in the Minnesota National Guard at age 17 because he wanted to serve the country that had taken him in.
Xiong planned to use his scholarship to start college, but he decided to put it off for six months to care for his sick mother after she was diagnosed with stage 3 gallbladder cancer.
When Chipotle’s home office found out why Xiong was delaying his college plans, the company donated $100,000 to cover his mother’s medical expenses and recovery. A spokeswoman said his story had touched the whole company.
“After my dad passed away, she has always put her kids first,” Xiong told USA Today. “She is a brave, courageous woman who was able to take nine children into a refugee camp and to the United States without speaking any English or Thai.”
(WATCH the video below from KARE News) — Photo: Fue Xiong
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