WYCKOFF, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey community is rallying around a Wyckoff restaurant after it was defaced with anti-Asian graffiti.

Waiting for their favorite Chinese takeout, standing a few feet apart, you could say the group of customers has never been closer. They’re bonded by feelings of anger against whoever vandalized the New Gourmet Garden with graffiti overnight.

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“I am shocked and disgusted by what I saw,” customer Diane Edwards told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.

Vandals spray painted the words “COVID-19” and “coronavirus” all over a Chinese restaurant in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Town officials are calling it a hate crime. (Credit: CBS2)

The owner, known as Twinkle, arrived to work Wednesday to disgusting sentiments like “go home to China,” “coronavirus” and “COVID-19” defacing her sidewalks and windows.

“I’m so sad,” Twinkle said.

She had to explain to her two young boys why someone might do this deliberately.

“They are mean,” one boy said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

But the compassion from the community was evident immediately.

Vandals spray painted the words “COVID-19” and “coronavirus” all over a Chinese restaurant in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Town officials are calling it a hate crime. (Credit: CBS2)

A local rabbi came by to drop off flowers and a check.

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“I want them to know that they are part of our community, that we support their being here,” Rabbi Chanoch Kaplan said.

A cleaning crew showed up, washing and scrubbing away the spray paint for free.

“I eat here, my crew eats here, and we want to see them back up and running as if nothing happened,” said James Higgins with AOA Cleaning and Restoration.

It’s that kind of support from friends and strangers that gave the restaurant the clean-up and the encouragement it needed to open again in time for the dinner rush.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Local authorities are investigating this as a bias crime. Lawmakers have warned of an uptick in crime targeting Asian Americans since the pandemic began. But the mayor of Wyckoff insists it is a safe and inclusive community.

“We are an open community, we accept everybody and this is something completely out of the ordinary and we condemn it,” Mayor Tim Shanley said.

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Showing that words of hate will be over powered by even stronger messages – of unity and love.