A kind gesture has resulted in a unique relationship that has lasted nearly a decade.
Neziswa Sokutapa volunteered to feed a wheelchair-bound customer when he popped into the store nine years ago for fish and chips in Kenilworth in Cape Town. They struck up a friendship‚ and the ritual has been repeated ever since.
Due to the nature of his disability‚ the man is unable to speak or use his fingers.
“He cannot speak‚ so you need to read his lips. He struggles a lot to express himself‚ but over the years I have learned to understand him. You need to look in his eyes and pay attention and then you will know what he is trying to say‚” said Sokutapa.
Her act of kindness has drawn widespread praise on social media after pictures of the pair were published.
“There really are some good human beings in this world‚” said Ziyaad Hanware.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip][tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“This woman deserves an award‚” said Andile on Twitter.
“What can I say? Just freaking awesome‚” said Lourens van Niekerk.
Sokutapa said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“He has been coming to the store since 2009. About three times a week he would come. He normally orders fish and chips. That is his favourite.”
The 34-year-old store manager compares the relationship to that of a “father and daughter”. He often checks on her and lets her know that he will be popping in for a meal.
“He will only come when I am at work. He will message me beforehand to say that he will be coming‚ to make sure that I am there. He orders and when his food is ready‚ I would feed it to him‚” she said.
“He is like a father to me. Even when he is away‚ he will check up on me and ask whether I am okay. When he goes away‚ he will tell me that he is going away for three weeks or a month‚ so I won’t see him. We have a good understanding.”
The customer cannot speak but staff at the eatery know by now what his favourite meal is.
“When he first came to the store another lady used to help him. I would see them and greet him. When she left‚ he asked me to help him and I have been doing it ever since.”
The two have developed their own language over the years‚ as she puts it.
“I just have to look in his face and I would know immediately whether I am doing something right or something wrong.”
Of her kind nature‚ she said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“It is not something that I am trained to do. It is part of my personality to help others‚ so I don’t mind doing it.”
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