“I heard the shocking news of Sam’s death. I would like to tell you my story. Maybe in some way it can be shared in your magazine. Kind regards, Hedwig Henneman”.
“Sam, the juice man…..
About almost 8 years ago I had to leave my so beloved Hong Kong. Living in DB in Seahorse Lane I was living like an expat princess….. But… my fairytale ended in a divorce, a hard, messy and painful time.
But….. There were and are so many things that made, and still make me happy in Hong Kong and in this case…. I will tell you about Sam.
Sam ‘my’ juice man.
As many of you do, I sort of dropped by everyday for my favourite juice. Sam made my life elixir, the apple carrot ginger juice…. I loved him from day one. He was so very Chinese, but still managed to deal with the gweilos…. After a while our little conversations started and he was always kind with our dog. Though I had trouble understanding him, he always managed to make me feel good, whatever state of mind I would be. For practically two and a half years I dropped by every day, but then, the day came when I had to leave DB….. I must have come in saying goodbye, all sobbing and tearful… Then he wrote me a note, in Cantonese; he wrote what he could not tell me in English. This note, I put in my HK wallet, and it’s still there almost 8 years later…..
Last Sunday the 13th of March I came to DB with a colleague. I am in the lucky position of being a KLM flight attendant so I still come back to Hong Kong. I had planned to drop by Sam’s, to get …… an apple carrot ginger juice…..but we needed to run for the ferry, of course… some things never change 😉 .
The next morning we had to fly back to Amsterdam. We had a new cockpit crew and I started talking to the Captain. Somehow the conversation got to the point where we figured out we were both around the same time living in DB. He asked me, if I still remembered Sam…. from the juice shop.
OFCOURSE!! My DB icon! I still miss him and his fabulous juices, I shouted with enthusiasm….. Then I saw the look on his face and I fell silent; it was then that he told me Sam is with the angels above. I was shocked, goose bumps all over my body.
At the airport we met a HK Chinese flight attendant and on our way to the plane we started talking…. I was still so shocked from the tragic news that I started to tell her the story.
I asked her if she could translate the note Sam once wrote for me, when I was in pain with a broken heart in DB. When she told me what Sam had written in his note I was amazed: wise, wonderful, beautiful words … they hit me, and her, straight in the heart. Tears rolled down our cheeks…. We were standing still, two strangers in a 747 galley….
The note has been with me for almost eight years and I’d never known that Sam was so wise, warm and maybe …. even lonely since it struck my colleague that it was almost as if he had written from his own experience, she said.
I do not know what really happened to Sam…. But I am quite sure many of you will agree with me, that Sam’s passing is a big loss and this should be a lesson for all of us, to take care of each other. I understood many tried to make sure Sam’s shop would stay in DB, but God….. Why did it have to end like this???
Sam, from Holland I pray that you found peace and I pray that money-orientated big companies, scratch behind their ears and think twice in the future…..
I will miss you forever, I will never now be able to let you know that I’m doing very well and that I can also take care of someone else. My beautiful gift, my daughter who I will never never be able to take to DB to have a juice at Sam’s.
One last thing, in case, for whatever reason, I lose my job, I want to start a concept shop that combines sap (Dutch for juice) and designer seats. The name is already in there…. sap&seats. But….. As from today I decided that it is going to be Sam’s sap&seats.
With warm greetings from Holland
Ex DB ‘citizen’, Hedwig Henneman”
Letter in Cantonese that Sam wrote to Hedwig 8 years ago:
Translation by Hedwig’s colleague on the KLM flight: