Bayside restaurant owner earns ‘Bravery Award’ for helping to stop teens who harassed customers and stole drinks

Amy’s Chinese Food owner Cathy Lu holds the plaque she received for her courageous actions. She is joined by Terence Park of the Asian American Voter Alliance and several representatives for elected officials. (Photo by Ethan Marshall)

The owner of Bayside’s Amy’s Chinese Restaurant, Cathy Lu, was presented with a Bravery Award by the Asian American Voters Alliance (AAVA) on May 20 for her actions a few weeks prior when she bravely chased a group of young thieves and stood in the way of the bus they jumped into until the police arrived to arrest them.

In addition to being joined by representatives from local community leaders Christine Colligan and Kenneth Chiu, Lu was also recognized by representatives of several local leaders, including Rep. Grace Meng, Sen. John Liu, Sen. Robert Ortt and Councilwoman Vickie Paladino.

On April 26, more than a dozen Bayside High School students entered the restaurant, where they allegedly harassed customers before stealing drinks. As they attempted to leave the restaurant with the drinks, they pushed to the ground and injured Lu’s husband as he attempted to stop them.

Bayside bravery
Photo courtesy of Asian American Voters Alliance

Lu quickly followed them as they boarded a bus, standing in front of the vehicle so that it couldn’t leave and told the driver to keep them locked in there as they waited for police from the 111th Precinct to arrive and arrest them.

“Cathy stood in front of a bus bravely to stop those thieves from getting away,” AAVA President Terence Park said. “We’re all here together to praise her bravery and to hopefully inspire the community to come together. The Bravery Award has been awarded to her for exercising valor to stop injustice.”

As the United States has seen a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the representatives emphasized the importance of unity during these times, especially in New York City, which has a high AAPI population.

“Those thieves picked the wrong people to mess with,” said Lisa DellAquila, state Senator John Liu’s chief of staff. “People like Cathy are what make our community and our country strong.”

After the incident, Councilwoman Vickie Paladino requested more law enforcement to patrol the area in order to protect the many small businesses in the community, according to Nicole Kiprilov, Paladino’s chief of staff.

Cathy Lu with Senator John Liu’s chief of staff, Lisa DellAquila. (Photo by Ethan Marshall)

Lu was also presented certificates for her bravery by the representatives for Meng, Liu, Paladino and Ortt. She said she was very grateful for being honored by the community.

“I just wanted to take care of my business and take care of my daily life,” Lu said. “I’m a little bit overwhelmed by all of the attention but look forward to getting back to work like normal.”

“We gather here together to honor and praise the courageous act of heroism to defend her store and community against hate crimes,” Park said. “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

New York City is home to the largest AAPI population out of any city in the United States. According to the Asian American Federation, the 2020 census data shows that there were more than 1.5 million AAPI people in the city, with nearly 706,000 residing in Queens.

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