Kitiyakara, Zon (Ginger Market) is Stepping Beyond

“Zonny has been an unbelievable bright spot for me since I started working at SJSU. I moved from Florida to San Jose, sight unseen, in the middle of the pandemic. I took a job here at SJSU in August of 2021, also sight unseen – I had never even been to campus before my first day. Early on, I was wandering for food on campus that I could buy on site as a kind of once a week treat for myself. I have so many food allergies and intolerances that, while I am not picky, my digestive system certainly is. Eating out for me is tricky. I went to Ginger Market and started to search through the sushi options for what I could eat and wasn’t finding many options that would be safe for me. Zonny came out to ask if he could help and he helped me identify what would be safe options for me to eat.

Immediately I started a ritual of going to Ginger Market once a week to look for “my friend,” as I refer to him to my family back home. It sounds a little melodramatic, but every week last year I really looked forward to what is generally my once a week, buy a meal “out” kind of self-care treat. All of us manage multiple life challenges at once and need to find the little things that make us happy. Every darn week I would wave to Zonny and he’d check on me and that little tiny interaction, once a week, will be always one of my fondest memories of my time here. No matter how busy he is, he always stops to help and is always so pleasant.

So many times I’ve wondered what I can do nice for him, in return, to recognize his kindness. This seems like the perfect opportunity to express to him how much that small gesture of his has given me something to look forward to and receive something tangible (food I can safely eat!).

All Summer (I’m a 10 month employee) I hoped that he didn’t quit over the summer. Even if he did, of course, life would go on. But, it’s hard to overstate how much I enjoy this weekly exchange. To go back to Ginger Market once I got back to campus Aug 1 was at the top of my to do list and then I had to wait until the store itself reopened. I was thrilled to see him again and I’m back to my once a week pop ins.

It seems like such a small thing but it has been so very large for me. A chef or culinary manager has to manage feeding this huge conglomerate of people daily and it would be so very easy to ignore or dismiss someone that has something extra that they need. His job has to be super demanding, being on his feet and managing so many people. To me, outside of the immediate AEC office that I work in and with, he’s the person I interact with the most and really truly appreciate.”

– Cory Watson

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