Angela Johnson teared up as she put out a plea to help save the Serving Spoon that she and her husband, JC, have owned for four decades but was heading for disaster during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is one of the hardest things I've had to do ever," she said as she choked back tears in a video posted on gofundme this week. "I don't want to sound like I'm begging. I'm just crying out for help."
COVID-19 restrictions whittled income down to just over 25% of normal, they said.
They'd been paying 12 employees not from their business budget, but from their personal savings.
"Unsustainable, man," JC said. "And not knowing when we'd see the end of it."
Turns out, the "end of it" for the Serving Spoon seemed to come right before Thanksgiving when Los Angeles County health restrictions shut down even their small outdoor operation.
Takeout only meant they couldn't meet payroll right before the holidays.
"I mean, what can you do?," Angela said. "'We don't have the money to pay you.' That's devastating because people have families."
So Angela recorded a widely-circulated video without telling her husband.
Today, business is up.
"I felt like I needed to come by and help support, any way possible," said Anisha Malone who says she saw a "black-owned business in trouble" on Instagram.
This week, LA Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and his wife donated $50,000.
And the best part?
The Serving Spoon staff has been extra busy, fulfilling all those new orders.
Whitworth and his wife have a standing invitation from the owners for free food any time they want.