People Lost In 2019: Litta Frigon Khambata
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Earlier this month, we asked you to tell us about someone you lost in 2019, a person who lived an exceptional life outside of the spotlight. We've been hearing some of those stories this weekend. Here's one from Josh Kravitz in Los Angeles.
JOSH KRAVITZ: I was a total LA cliche, sitting in a coffee shop with my laptop. And there was always this old woman in the corner. Her clothes were old, not very clean and mismatched. And she didn't have many teeth.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The woman's name was Litta Frigon Khambata. She and Kravitz were both regulars at a local Coffee Bean.
KRAVITZ: A lot of people thought she was homeless, especially people who were there for the first time. And sometimes they would give her money, and she took it (laughter). I mean, she wouldn't correct them.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: One day, the coffee shop was full. Kravitz, who had also avoided her, was forced to take a seat nearby. They started talking. It was the first conversation in what became an almost daily routine, checking in with each other and chatting about politics and current events.
KRAVITZ: You know, about a year into knowing her, I had found that not only was she not homeless; she owned a $2 million apartment building around the corner, which she managed.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Litta Khambata was born in Montreal in 1937. She moved to the U.S., got married and eventually settled in LA, where she opened and ran a clothing store. And she was able to buy that apartment building in Westwood. Decades went by. Her family stayed in Canada. She got a divorce. Friends died.
KRAVITZ: And one day she just kind of found herself alone. And the only place she had to go was the coffee shop around the corner. We kind of became her family.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That Coffee Bean family would take her to the movies or dinner. When she wasn't in her usual seat, someone would go to her apartment to check on her. And Litta's friends became friends with one another. She introduced Kravitz to a woman named Mattilyn. And the two of them would help her to the doctors and help Litta sort out her bills. Eventually, Josh and Mattilyn had their engagement photos taken in the Coffee Bean a month before it closed.
KRAVITZ: And I think part of how my wife and I got to know each other and ultimately fall in love was that we were working together to help Litta. And you know, we did it to help Litta. But ultimately, it really helped us, you know, more than I can say.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: When Litta's health deteriorated, they helped her sell her building and moved her into a nursing home. The couple was out of town in early October when they got the call. Litta had died. She was 82. They rushed to the hospital.
KRAVITZ: A chaplain came to talk to us. And we told him our whole story about our romance and how we helped Litta. And by the end, he was crying. And he said, I came in here to comfort you, but you comforted me. He said we gave him hope.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Litta Frigon Khambata is buried in Montreal alongside her siblings and parents now. And at a memorial service Josh Kravitz helped organize at a Coffee Bean down the street, her other family talked about her life and how she brought them all together.
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