If you’ve worked at a bar or a restaurant in your life, you’ll have probably encountered customers attempting to leave without paying for their round or meal.
It’s a real kick in the teeth at the best of times, often coming at the end of a stressful shift, and the loss of earnings can be felt much more keenly by small businesses than big chains (not that it feels good in either situation).
Kilimandjaro is an African and Caribbean restaurant in Middlesbrough, and suffered this fate recently when a group of customers left to find a cashpoint and never returned.
In this situation, you’d probably write it off as money lost, and that’s exactly what restaurateur Apollo Apollinaire did.
However, it turns out he needn’t have been so pessimistic.
“We accepted they would never come back and we had lost the money,” Apollinaire told Gazette Live, but he got a surprise a few days later when the party sent him a note of apology, along with the money they owed.
They explained that, on their way to withdraw cash, they saw that their last train home was about to leave. Rather than paying for their meal and missing the train, they ran to the station and boarded the train just before it left the platform.
Perhaps they had a guilty conscience, or perhaps they just wanted to go to Kilimandjaro again and were worried about being outed as bill-dodgers, but they sent the note – along with £40 in cash – just five days after the whole episode.
The letter reads: “On our search [for a cash machine] it was apparent that the last train to our home town was shortly about to depart.
“This diverted our attention away from finding an ATM machine and led to us running down to the train station and just making our train.
“It was at this point, being too late, we realised our actions and decided to write this letter of apology with £40 enclosed in this envelope.
“It is with our deepest regret that, not being from Middlesbrough, we are not able to come into Kilimandjaro in person to apologise. Additionally, we will be giving a positive five-star review of your establishment on Tripadvisor.
Apologies, Tom, Alex and Harry.”
“We can tell it was a genuine mistake. It was just amazing,” Apollinaire said.
“I didn’t think people still did that. I thought those kinds of people had disappeared from the planet.”
The comments on Kilimandjaro’s Facebook page are equally positive, with many claiming their faith in humanity has been restored.
See, 2017 isn’t all bad.
(Images: Kilimandjaro Middlesbrough/Facebook/iStock)