DAVIS (CBS13) — A beloved Davis family-owned restaurant is getting a big lift from customers as it deals with a painful loss.
The family lost its wife and mother to cancer and was forced to close 'Sam's Mediterranean Cuisine' to help with her caretaking during COVID-19. Sam Abughannam came back to his closed restaurant and found lots of familiar faces eager to see him again.
It was a surprise return that had David Campos stop his car.
"Thanks for your love and support, thank you," Abughannam said.
"You bet," Campos said.
And Dave Kane shared an embrace.
"He called me, he called me and I started crying," Abughannam said.
Customers of his beloved Sam's Mediterranean Cuisine had not seen Abughannam since his wife died in December.
"What they did is they brought a ray of sunshine," Abughannam said.
Abughannam closed up his 25-year-old restaurant last March to help his wife battle leukemia during the coronavirus. A painful stem cell replacement did not save her. She suffered.
"It's hard every time I look at those pictures it brings tears in my eyes," Abughannam said.
Sue Abughannam also ran the restaurant.
"She was my backbone," he said.
Customers set up a GoFundMe account to help the family reopen the restaurant. The $150,000 goal was reached in just days. Some 2,000 customers gave in all sizes of donations.
It's a show of financial support also giving the family a feeling of love. Sam and Sue's children grew up in the restaurant.
"People are still rooting for us and it's a year later and people haven't forgotten about us," daughter Rawan Abughannam said.
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This family in mourning and feeling embraced. Their community is fighting for their future.
"I'm really very, very grateful for what they did," Abughannam said. "I never forget."
The Abughannam family said they will use the GoFundMe donations to help pay for rent along with medical and legal bills. They hope to have the restaurant back open soon.
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