Munnar (Kerala) : Call it a demonetisation pain eased by a fine example of hospitality in the God’s Own Country. A 40-year-old foreigner ate at a restaurant here and didn’t pay because he was cashless. He was caught but let off because the eatery staff realised their guest had no other option.
Khader Kunju, a restaurant owner here since 1989, said the incident occurred on Friday at the eatery near his joint. Kunju told IANS that the tourist had before ordering food asked if the restaurant accepted credit cards. He was told the facility wasn’t available. But he still “went and had lunch and after washing his hands, he ran away”, Kunju said.
“He was caught by the hotel staff, but let off when he said he has money but there was no way he could withdraw it as the ATM’s did not have cash.” Kunju said it was not a one-off incident of inconvenience faced by foreigners in Kerala after the central government announced on November 8 that it was spiking the country’s 86 per cent — Rs 500 and 1,000 notes — of all currency in circulation.
He said he also faced “similar situation as many of my clients are foreign tourists”. The restaurant owner narrated an incident how a group of French tourists — four men and four women — walked into his eatery and said they were very hungry and wanted to eat but had no cash.
“They said they have credit cards, but since I don’t have swiping machine, I told them they can have food and pay later.” However, the generosity came with a cost. “Their total bill was Rs 1,600. A few days later the women came and paid their amount, but the men slipped away and have not paid as yet.”