Lee's family sent her from China to Los Angeles three years ago to be a waitress in a Chinatown restaurant and send money home to support her ailing grandmother. She lives with her bitter aunt, and endures terrible treatment at work, but feels trapped. Steve, a well-traveled engineer, enters her shabby restaurant by accident one day and is smitten by her. He works to bring her out of her misery and isolation in the short time before he has to leave for a job in China.