Paying It Forward


Katsutaro and Tsuyo Komatsubara and Nobu Tanaka in front of the City Cafe in 1950.

Recently, Jim Johnson contacted committee members Karleen and Roger Grummett and asked how to go about donating to the Empty Chair Project. He confided that his desire to donate arose mainly from his personal relationship with Mr. Komatsubara at the City Café in the 50’s.

He ate there constantly when he was a hard-up college student working to put away money for the next year’s college tuition. He said “Slicker” (Mr. Komatsubara’s nick name) used to feed him and put his meals on a tab, and then when Jim could afford it, he would pay him back as he was able.

As Karleen put it, “So the City Café is the gift that keeps on giving. I think it’s called paying it forward.”