Less than a week after reporting racist harassment and crank calls threatening to put her out of business, Clifton restaurant owner Yvonne Low has her hands full with orders – real ones this time.
The demand is so high that she ran out of ingredients on Thursday evening and had to go to the supermarket before it opened on Friday.
“It kind of makes me speechless,” she said. “I couldn’t express my gratitude enough.”
Low, who is from Malaysia, said Monday that her Tea ‘N’ Bowl Chinese restaurant had been flooded with phone calls from people who placed large orders and promised to pay in cash. You and your staff would prepare the meal; The customer would never show up.
If she tried to call her back, the customer insisted that she had been given a wrong number.
“We don’t even eat dogs,” said one.
The prank calls are low on time, money and ingredients, but the racist comments were the worst, she said. Like other Asian Americans, especially Asian restaurant owners, Low said she has experienced new levels of racial harassment since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The novel coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China, and its subsequent spread, which crippled much of the world in 2020, became a pretext for anti-Asian harassment in the US and elsewhere. Asian Americans have reported being physically assaulted, labeled as blurring, and personally blamed for a global pandemic.
A study conducted by civil rights group Asian Americans Advancing Justice found that 3,000 hate crimes were reported against Asian Americans in 2020. For the entire biennium from 2017 to 2019, the same organization found fewer than 500.
Low said Monday she was afraid of closing her restaurant. Her relatives in Malaysia were worried about her and she did not want her family business to become a place where her children saw their parents being racially harassed.
After her story aired on WCPO, new orders came in and those came from customers who came to pay.
On Friday, Low said she felt reinvigorated by the Cincinnati community and determined to keep her place on West McMillan Street.
“I even had an officer who said, ‘Come down in person,’ to give me a card and say, ‘You know what, if something happens again, call me directly and we’ll come down and help you, anything if you feel threatened or something, ” she said.
People from out of state have offered to make donations for her restaurant, she added, but she does not want donations. She wants to run her business and feel safe doing it.
“I said,” Oh, we feel so loved, “she said.” Even my staff say, ‘People love us. They really support us.’ The love, care and support are very – it warms our hearts really. “
If you’re in the mood for boba, hot pot, or pad thai from Tea ‘N’ Bowl this weekend, Low warns that there may be waiting times due to the volume of other orders. Her husband Joe cooks as fast as he can.