When I first saw her, she was about half a block up on the other side of the street. She was hurrying along and I was trying to figure out if I could catch up with her. She just drew me in somehow: her small frame, her purposefulness, her white cap and checked chef pants. I was coming from work and wearing my version of stilettos (one-inch heels), which made it hard to walk too fast. Suddenly, she got to the corner and crossed the street. I realized she was headed for the bus stop a few yards away. My heart did a little happy dance.

“Hi!” I said, walking up to the bench where she was sitting. She gave me a wide open smile and returned the greeting. I noticed the thermometer in her pocket. “So, you’re going to be a chef, hunh?” I asked. She pulled her backpack strap aside to show me the emblem on her jacket: “Le Cordon Bleu Program.”

We chatted for a while; she told me she’s originally from Oahu and has been in Portland four years. I fessed up that I wasn’t waiting for the bus but that I had stopped to give her something. “Okay,” she said, looking me in the eye with an earnest and expectant gaze.

“It’s kind of a pay-it-forward thing,” I said. “This is for you.” I handed her the hundred dollar bill.

“Really? Really?!” she said. “I don’t know if I can take this.” “Yeah, you can. It’s a gift,” I told her.

“Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!” She reached out to give me a hug just as I asked her name. “Taylor,” she said into my ear. “What’s yours?”

“You just don’t know how much this means to me,” she said. “Like what?” I asked. “I’m 18, going to school, trying to get out on my own, living with my parents. You know, it’s just amazing. Thank you!”

We just stood there for a minute, then she said, “It’s funny, I was just telling myself that this is a really good day!” I asked her why and she told me she had aced a big test this afternoon, passing her first level of training. Now she’s off for nine days for spring break. The test, in Knife Cuts, involved making a potato, onion and carrot each into eight perfect pieces. They got one chance and she passed with flying colors.

Way to go, Taylor! You’ll go far.

Taylor, going far



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10 Responses to A Really Good Day

  1. Camille says:

    That’s my friend! 😀
    i love her!! she’s so awesome

  2. Taylor Lum says:

    Thank you so much again, You really made my day. I am forever greatful. You are an inspiration.

    • Jill Ginsberg says:

      I hope you enjoy your vacation and get all rested up for your second term. It was so nice to meet you.

  3. Nicole says:

    Wow! I am so happy for you TayyTay! You are such a wonderful person, you soooo deserved that gift.

  4. Steph in Oregon says:

    I don’t know you, Taylor, but I am glad your path crossed with Jill’s. She seems to be drawn to really great people. I wish you all the best in your studies and your career.

  5. Tessa says:

    I’m so inspired by you. I hope the people that have been touched by your generosity would pass the same thing to other. I’m sure you have made their day.

  6. Michele Wolfson says:

    Awesome story, cousin! As a fellow chef in training, I can relate to her excitement for passing her knife skills test because they are CRAZY HARD! Keep up the amazing work, Jill… I read your stories often, so thanks for them! God Bless You.

  7. DJan says:

    I don’t know how you manage to make me tear up so easily, but this one was just… perfect. Indeed, it is a really good day. So glad you followed your intuition with Taylor!

  8. andrea gehrke says:

    It was great to see a comment from Taylor herself as well as some friends. So glad you caught up with this sweet, aspiring chef, Jill. She has a wonderful spirit about her. You have found so many treasures in this journey.

  9. Rebecca says:

    Funny, I don’t know why this is the one that made me tear up…

    I love your blog. I just realized that this blog and the Estate Store blog are the only two that I read regularly – good blogs out of NE PDX! Yay!

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