LONDON, UK—Mohinder Singh Potiwal wrote to the Newcastle Chronicle after a businessman paid for his coffee and sandwich at Cologne airport.
The kindness of a mystery businessman queuing for an airport coffee inspired a letter that is restoring the faith in humanity of thousands. The piece, by Mohinder Singh Potiwal of Southampton, was published in the Newcastle Chronicle on June 4. In it he thanked a North East businessman who had paid for his coffee and sandwich at Cologne airport when the card machine had stopped working.
He wrote: “In the split second while I was thinking about where the nearest ATM was, a Geordie voice behind me asked the girl how much my bill was and to add this to his bill. “I offered to reimburse him but his answer to this was ‘If I cannot buy a fellow Englishman a coffee then it’s a sorry state of affairs.’”
The letter has since been read on social media sites online by hundreds of people and attracted a raft of comments. One comment, by Sunny Hundal, said: “Changing identity politics in England. Wonderful story.” Another message, posted by Cumnor Says No, read: “What a refreshing story and a reminder of how small acts of kindness and generosity of spirit are alive & kicking.” Chris Taylor Horne added: “Rightly going viral, #humankindness” Elizabeth Smith said: “This is lovely.” And Rubi Kaur left a message saying: “An absolutely beautiful, uplifting story. Made my afternoon – thank you for sharing.”
Others commented about the Geordie spirit. WH Mudder wrote: “That’s us Geordies, some of the best people.” And Lewis Bell added: “Us Geordies can be proper mint like.”
The letter in full:
“On April 23, I was standing in Cologne Airport ordering a coffee and a hot sandwich.
I took out my credit card to pay, only to be told by the girl behind the counter that the card reader was out of action.
In the split second while I was thinking about where the nearest ATM was, a Geordie voice behind me asked the girl how much my bill was and to add this to his bill.
I offered to reimburse him but his answer to this was “If I cannot buy a fellow Englishman a coffee then it’s a sorry state of affairs.”
The crux of the story is that I am a British Sikh with the full beard and turban.
It was refreshing to be called a fellow Englishman and really restored my faith in fellow human beings.
We introduced ourselves but due to a medical condition, I am no good with names but will never forget his kind face and deeds.
He was an elderly businessman with an associate.”