Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

A well-known restaurant owner told me the other day that he'd had quite enough of people.

One of his entitled customers, angry that it takes up to three days for a reversed debit-card charge to be re-credited to his account, called the police. 

Yes, while he was still at the restaurant.

More than one restaurant owner will tell you that civilized behavior seems to be passing with the DVD and the NFL.

Please imagine, then, the feelings of Apollo Apollinaire. 

He owns the Kilimandjaro restaurant in Middlesborough, England.

It only accepts cash.

A couple of weeks ago, a table of three men suddenly discovered this -- so it seems -- and explained that they would have to go to an ATM. 

As the Independent reports, all three of them went.

You know what happened next, don't you?

They failed to reappear.

"We accepted they would never come back and we had lost the money," Apollinaire told the Independent.

That's how people are, isn't it? They're always trying to take advantage. 

Five days later, however, Apollinaire received a letter.

It was from the three men. No, they didn't want an extra chuckle at his expense.

Instead, they enclosed the cash. And, perhaps just as importantly, an explanation.

They said that they went looking for an ATM and suddenly realized that the last train to their hometown was about to leave.

Tom, Alex and Harry -- at least that's what they called themselves in the letter -- seemed slow to realize that, once they'd got on the train, it meant that they hadn't paid for dinner.

They added: "It is with our deepest regret that not being from Middlesbrough we are not able to come into Kilimanjaro's in person to apologize. Additionally, we will be giving a positive five-star review of your establishment on TripAdvisor. Apologies."

Apollinaire posted their letter to Facebook, together with the simple thought: "Don't be quick to judge."

That's hard, isn't it? 

Especially now that there's Facebook and Twitter. Such entities have conditioned us to judge very quickly and, worse, to expose our judgments even more quickly.

Oh, it's wise not to expect too much from people. 

Sometimes, though, they really will surprise you. Sometimes, too, your overly quick judgment may ruin their chance of surprising you.

My own life-addled innards still fear that these three diners might have decided to, as the Brits say, do a runner.

It could be that, some time later, they were struck by painful levels of remorse or even shame.

Still, the fact that they made amends and surprised Apollinaire offers a little hope.

"It was very unlike us," said the men's letter. "Which is why we're very remorseful."

It's Christmas. Let's believe them.

Published on: Dec 18, 2017