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A Woman Continues Her Grandfather's Charitable Legacy, One Orange At A Time

Jennifer Wing
Sharon Maeda passes out fruit on Seattle's Route 7 bus.

Sharon Maeda inherited a unique legacy from her grandfather. It was built around his value of community service and it involves free fruit.

As a child in Portland, Maeda would take the bus with her grandfather to visit all different types of people. Sometimes they would travel to tenements or walk down dingy hallways.

Maeda remembers:

"My grandfather wasn’t one with a lot of words. But he would always ask how they were and they’d chit chat for a few minutes. Then my job as a little child was I got to reach into the bag and give them an apple and an orange. And I think it had a huge influence on me. I feel very privileged because I got to interact in my childish way with all different kinds of people from different ethnic backgrounds and with physical disabilities. And these were grandpa’s friends and I just adored my grandfather. So I never had any fear or hesitation to engage with people of different backgrounds.”

Sound Effect contributor Yuko Kodama joined Maeda on a Seattle bus to see how she's continued her grandfather's legacy and learn about what influenced his own generosity.

Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.