Episode 01 The One with Her Friends

Episode 01 The One with Her Friends

Monica, Rachel and Phoebe wearing wedding dresses in Monica’s apartment

Hi guys, I'm Gunther, a small business owner who runs Central Perk, a coffee house in China that I re-created based on my favorite sitcom Friends. It was great to meet you here.

I'd like to share a story that I learned today, which I believe is worth to be told.

I met with my store manager, Anze, in Guangdong at the Central Perk this morning for the first time in the past three years. As soon as I sat down Anze told me a little while ago, a girl in a wheelchair, who was ill, came to the coffee house on her last day before leaving Guangzhou. The girl’s sister told us she wished to sit on the orange sofa one more time. At that time, there were other customers sitting on it, but they kindly let her have the entire sofa. She sat there, quietly watching the show from the TV. “I figured I have to give her a little something as a gift. So I found a cup with FRIENDS logo and handed it to her. She was very happy. I wish she'd be okay by now." Anze told me.

At noon I learned from a friend in a group chat that the girl had bone cancer and passed away this June. Then I passed this news to Anze. The two of us stood in front of the coffee house smoking without saying a word.

One of her friends said that the girl enjoyed watching the show in the coffee house with her gang of three friends. They came here often and this place was like a home to the girl. They imagined one day they would wear wedding dresses and sit on the couch having popcorn, just like the characters did in the show. The show had brought her so much strength to get through every day of being sick yet alive. She was grateful. The gang felt very sorry that they were unable to be with her last time when she was here - which was her last visit to the coffee house....

I feel nothing but grateful for her trust and love for this coffee house. I also feel regretted for not learning this story earlier. This story got me thinking about what Friends means for us. Did the girl forget her pain for a moment when she sat on the sofa? Did the happiness and laughter that the show brought to her wash away the unbearable weight of being? Was Friends one of the reasons for her to miss this life?

Then what is the purpose of this coffee house? Why do we keep it running? I have no answer. But I know I will carry on for those who have loved the show and who still love it.

Thanks for reading this. Nice to e-meet you here.
Back to blog

Leave a comment