The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Honest topping on delicacies
- Restaurant staff returns contractor Rs 1.97 lakh

Patna, May 18: Series of abductions, bribing and duping have virtually eclipsed honesty in Bihar. But streak of goodness has not completely disappeared yet.

In an exemplary act, a restaurant staff earning just Rs 2,500 per month did not even think about vanishing with Rs 1.97 lakh left behind by a customer in a bag.

Last Saturday, Izaz Ahmed, a contractor from Kishanganj, walked into Abhiruchi restaurant on Frazer Road in the afternoon and ordered a special Marwari thali for lunch. After having the food and paying the bill, Ahmed left the restaurant oblivious about the bag he was carrying.

The contractor would have rued the lunch for life but for Sarwan Mishra’s honesty.

Sarwan, who was serving customers on the first floor of the restaurant, spotted the bag. Opening it with uncanny fear and hesitation, he found four bundles of currency notes of Rs 500 denomination, an SBI Kishanganj cheque and a bank guarantee paper.

Sarwan did not hesitate for a moment to take the bag to the restaurant manager, Satish Bagaria, who called up the restaurant owner, Krishna Kumar Goel alias Tulluji. And they all decided to wait for the customer to return.

Satish said: “When the customer did not come to take his bag even after two hours, we called up Kotwali police.”

Kotwali police station sub-inspector Madan Gopal counted the cash. The cheque book of the owner of the bag helped police identify the customer, Ahmed.

The police later learnt that Ahmed had come to Patna to bid for a tender floated by the Food Corporation of India. “The bank guarantee of Rs 5 lakh and the cash suggest so,” said a Kotwali police station officer. Izaz, who had put up at a hotel near the railway station, did come back to Abhiruchi restaurant last Saturday around 6 pm but the bag was handed over to the police by then with the cash.

Ahmed got back his “missing” cash and other important papers from the police on May 13. The contractor left for Kisanganj soon after without thanking the honest restaurant employees and the owner of the eating joint.

Sarwan and Satish, sort of local heroes now, did not expect “a warm and honest thank” from the customer either. Nor are they going gaga about their act of honesty despite not belonging to the privileged class of the society.

The family of Sarwan, in his mid-30’s, live in Darbhanga. He has not brought them to “costlier” Patna for financial reasons. Yet he did not hesitate to return such a huge amount.

Sarwan said: “I have been working with the restaurant since I was nine-year-old. I have found dozens of valuables like mobile phones and purses over the years only to return them to customers. A moment of avarice would have tainted my image and brought disrepute to our restaurant.”

Restaurant manager Satish shared Sarwan’s pride and added: “We not only serve pure vegetarian Marwadi delicacies but nurse pure thoughts as well.”

And just to reinforce his “honest act”, Sarwan brought back this correspondent's cap, also left behind.

Thumbs up to Sarwan and team!

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