VISTA, Calif. — Sometimes the people who create the most joy in this world are the last to ask for help. In this Zevely Zone, I went to Vista to visit Connie's Cafe where the food is, "Fabulous, very, very good," said customer Betty Theel.
Even better than the food is Connie. "Lovely lady, very cheerful friendly easy to get along with," said customer Sharron Rowley.
What most customers don't know is that Connie recently received bad news from her doctor. "They just said, 'You have bladder cancer' and so it was just kind of hard to deal with," said the cafe's owner Connie Ambacher.
She vows to fight for her five grandchildren and her son Bill who helps run the cafe. "Overwhelming, it's crazy, it sucks," said Bill Ambacher. His mother is only 48-years old, and Bill just won't allow her to die young like his father, Bill Sr. did at age 55. "He had a heart attack, yeah it's tough," said Bill with tears rolling down his face.
Connie has helped so many people in her hometown, like sports photographer Rich Cruse. "She'd give me a giant tray of enchiladas," said Rich. Last year when Rich was out of work, Connie often sent him home with leftovers and a huge heart. "It's as big as this restaurant, probably bigger. It's amazing it can even fit," said Rich.
On Christmas Day, Connie came to her cafe and made 100 dinners, she then gave them all away to anyone who walked in her door who was hungry. Throughout COVID-19, Connie's battled to stay in business and now she has something else to fight for. "My grandkids, they need their grandma," said Connie. Just as this community needs Connie. Customer and friend Traci Barnhill created a GoFundMe page. "There are so many people who love her and if I didn't do it somebody else would step up because she is loved by this whole community," said Traci.
Connie was a longtime waitress, who opened this cafe to serve others and offer a free cookie with every meal and now the tables have been turned. "It leaves me speechless; I don't know what to say to that. It is just amazing," said Connie.
This special lady has poured her heart and soul into cooking and taking care of so many of us during these challenging times. Her three kids all attended and graduated from Vista Unified Schools. Connie has been here for over forty years. She opened her cafe’ six years ago. Connie needs to be able to purchase insurance to help pay for her inevitable surgery and chemotherapy, but she is concerned about keeping the restaurant going for Bill and his family. She doesn’t know how advanced the cancer is yet and we are hoping and praying it hasn’t spread.
If you'd like to help Connie, her son Bill would love to cook you a meal or if you'd like to make a donation, please visit her GoFundMe page by clicking here.