Whistler has done it again, opening its wallets and its hearts for long-term residents Miki and Takumi Kudo.
In one day, the community raised close to $60,000 to help the couple in the wake of Miki's life-changing car accident. She remains in intensive care in Vancouver more than two months after her accident.
In the meantime, their employers and their friends rallied to help them. Both work at Samurai Sushi and Takumi also works at Roland's Pub.
On Monday, April 6, Samurai Sushi donated all sales, wages and tips to the couple. This was followed by an evening event at Roland's Creekside Pub.
"Whistler was awesome," said Ru Mehta, owner of Samurai Sushi where Miki Kudo has worked for nine years. "I knew they would come through. It's always the same here... People were coming in and buying a $10 special and leaving a $20, or $50, or buying more raffle tickets. That just kept going all day long."
Mike Roland called the fundraiser efforts a "huge success" going far beyond what they had hoped to raise.
The money will be going to help pay for expenses.
Takumi, added Roland, has been by Miki's side every day since the accident. He has been living with Roland's parents in the city.
"He's holding up amazingly well, considering what he's going through," said Roland.
Takumi was in Whistler throughout the day Monday, making staff meals for the Samurai employees at both locations who were busy making lunch for everyone else.
Mehta said there was steady traffic at both Samurai locations throughout the day, with a late afternoon rush.
In the end, it was the busiest both locations have ever been in a single day.
"It was a lot to ask of the staff to come in and do that," he said.
When he was taking a cab home later that night and tried to tip, the driver gave back the $10 for the fund.
Roland, too, sent out a thank you to all the local businesses that donated to the raffle.
A website has also been set up for donations. To date more than $10,000 has been raised online at www.mikiandtakumi.com.