I had just arrived in the United Arab Emirates for several months’ work and went for a long walk along the seaside in the capital city of Abu Dhabi. Hungry, I stopped for a meal at a large boat that had been converted into a charming seafood restaurant.
I then placed my order and, when it came, was pleased to find the food delicious. By the time I finished my meal, however, the earlier client hadn’t come back and the bill remained unpaid. When the waiter came with my tab, I paid it, tipped, and added another sixty dollars to cover the earlier customer’s meal. The waiter remonstrated, “But, sir, you didn’t even know him!”
“That is true,” I gently responded, “but I wouldn’t like you to think poorly of Indians.”
The next day, my first day at work, I stayed late at the office, and when I returned to my hotel I was surprised to receive an envelope from the receptionist at the front desk. Inside were sixty dollars and a note in Arabic that I could not decipher. The receptionist translated the message for me:
“Thank you for your kindness. The Indian gentleman came back today and paid his check. I wouldn’t like you to think poorly of Arabs.”