Monday, October 11, 2010

Stood Up For a Kitty... Got a Free Meal

Oh my God. 

I cannot believe what just happened. I've just got home after a very long day, longing to sit back and have dinner before crashing dead asleep. My stomach is silently rumbling at the moment, especially when the delicious distinctive smell of the food I just ordered from a local famous chain restaurant is luring me to have it. But I'm not so eager to have it anymore. Somehow, I feel it's not right. 

Why? Well, I got it for free.


You might think I might be crazy not to be happy to have something for free; everyone looooves anything free & cannot even think twice about not accepting something for free. Well, I don't. I feel that I don't deserve this food that I did not pay for. There's a huge lump in my chest preventing me from feeling OK with it. 

OK, let me tell you the story...

I went to this local branch of a very famous chain restaurant to order dinner. I chose to order from the car hop. As I was waiting to pick my order, I watched this cute adorable cat that is a friend of the restaurant that keeps present next to the delivery door, I longed to go and just rub her head fondly. As I was watching the cat & enjoying the scene, a little kitten came on and sat cutely in front of the delivery door, surely anticipating some food to be thrown at him/her and his/her mother. Instead, the kitty almost got crushed by the foot of a delivery man that had came out heading to his bike, and received a heartless kick that got him/her flying down the little stairs and away from the man's way.

I completely and totally got shocked. I didn't see that coming at all. I was just happily watching that cute adorable creature, who was just calling out to the world, "Hey, look at me! I'm soooo cute, I want to eat; feed me!", and was going all "Awwww! So cute! Awwww!"; watching it get almost crushed & kicked like that wasn't at all in my what-might-happen-scenario. I mean, the kitties looked so close to the employees, and it's not the first time I've seen them at that restaurant. They are not that afraid of the the men walking around and are just acting almost like any pet cat you have. But even though, some of the employees seem to be friendly with the cats, (as no cat would get so close to any person unless they'd been friendly to them), some of them aren't acting friendly at all. 

All baffled, I looked at the delivery man. He caught me eye & smiled. 


He just continued walking to his bike. Funnily enough, I found myself smiling. 


I believe I had a smile on my face because I was initially smiling at the kitties and the the shock just prevented me from functioning well for that moment. I immediately got my sense back later and was scolding him for what he did. He couldn't hear me though, the windows weren't down. However, I'm sure anyone could tell from my body language & facial expressions, that even though I smiled (for nanoseconds!), I was clearly upset with what he just did and highly disapproved of it. But he didn't do anything, and just drove off. 

That's when I just felt I needed to do something.

I kept looking for the little kitty that suddenly disappeared. I was like, "Oh, my God, where did he/she go??" I thought of coming down from the car. I even unhooked my driver's seat. But the small cluster of restaurant employees standing outside (who might be on their break, and could have been oblivious to what had just happened), and the fear of creating a scene prevented me from doing that. Instead, I just thought of walking away and not getting my order. After all, how am I going to have anything to eat from that restaurant after what just happened?? I was getting really upset, that I was no longer hungry. Especially, to have their food. I switched the gear to R, and placed my right foot on the fuel preparing to go.

But then, it hit me. What will that do? Why would that be of any benefit? It certainly won't get anything changed. So instead of just going away without saying anything and fleeing the scene as if I discovered that I didn't have money to pay & wanted to avoid the embarrassment, I decided not to go before talking to the manager of the restaurant & tell him what just happened. So, I opened the window and called out to the man in a distinctive looking uniform than the rest of the employees that were standing outside whom I figured to be the manager, & then he came out to me. 

This is pretty much what went on, on our conversation:

Manager: "Yes, how can I help you?"
Me (trying to sound assertive than emotional): "Yes, hello, are you the manager?" 
He confirmed that he was, so I continued: "I'm sorry, but did you see what just happened? "
He looked a bit blank, wondered what I was referring to. He said that he didn't know what just happened.

I told him what happened, and that I no longer wish to have my order. I tried hard not to go emotional and successfully kept my tears away all throughout the conversation. I appeared tough from the outside, even though the words I spoke could tell that I'm a very caring person. Lucky for me, the manager was a sweet person; he cared for what I was saying & did not regard me as if I was some kind of Animal Rights crazy activist. I'm not. I just happen to care about animals, and cats are my favorite kind of animals ever. Whenever I see a cat or a kitty walking or running on the street, I always feel scared whenever they are passing by on the road, & pray to God not to run by one by mistake, 'cause that will kill me.

We continued talking for a while. I wish I can remember each word we said, but at the end of the conversation, these were the results:

The manager was very friendly, and quickly assured me that he will talk to the delivery man (which he did as the man came back later), right away offered me free dinner when I said I didn't feel like eating anymore, and asked me not to boycott the restaurant (I don't think I said anything about boycotting... but he just didn't want to lose any customer, it was clear. He was just doing his job). 

I really felt more upset that he offered to give me my order without paying and really wished just to go; having him talk to the man would be enough for me. But he kept insisting and insisting, until I reluctantly accepted at the end, (I still wish that I didn't take it), and only after a very long string of NO NOs, and after a promise that the message will be sent and the issue will be addressed, (and by addressing the issue, I meant not having the cats to be thrown out - I don't mind having cats roaming around restaurants as long as the employees' hands stay away from them and the cats remain outside).

The delivery man has arrived back then, and the manager had a little talk with him, (I didn't see him talk to him, though, but he told me later that he did. In his defense, the man said that he didn't see it and almost crushed it. So I guess, kicking him was a way to save the kitty from being crushed?? Please! I saw how heartlessly his kick was, not a real kick by accident; it was deliberate! 
But I cannot be sure about him not seeing it or not, he might have not really seen it. Still, kicking it is NO EXCUSE! You could just walk out of it's way, you know!

My guilt and unrest for taking the food without paying really halted me from going off in peace. So I drove back almost immediately, and looked for the manager again. He was inside talking to the delivery man by that time (as he told me later). I told him that I don't wanna be a reason for somebody's paycheck to be cut down or anything, and I don't want somebody to pray to God against me for ruining their day because of a little kitty and I hated to have my order without paying for it, but he kept insisting "genuinely" that I shouldn't mention it and shall be at peace with it.

But I still am not. Even though, I'm really starting to feel hungry. My order must be so beyond cold by now.


It's true, the little kitty came back looking all fine & happy, anticipating some food again, but I know God doesn't allow anything like this. I and lots of other people certainly don't either. I usually see and hear horrendous violent acts against animals, sometimes right in front me, (like the cats -or shall I say, what remains of them- run on the streets everyday), but I rarely do anything "beneficial" about it except for going all in shock, tears, anger, or frequently joining animal lovers/supporters groups on Facebook. So, unless I start doing something that will really help spread the message about Animal Abuse and the need to be more humane & peaceful to the helpless animals, then all the tears, and fits of shock and anger won't do me any good, because it won't do the animals any good.

So, if anyone reading this now, and who has come across some heartless act like this towards animals, children, or any other helpless creature, the next time you encounter anything that raises a red flag in you, please don't look away & do something about it.

(Who knows, you might get something better than a free meal! ;P)


Narrated Ibn 'Umar: The Prophet said, "A woman entered the (Hell) Fire because of a cat which she had tied, neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth."  (Book #54, Hadith #535)


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