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Muslim-owned restaurant offering elderly free meals on Christmas Day

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A manager at a Muslim-owned restaurant promising to give elderly and homeless people a free three-course dinner on Christmas Day has revealed that staff were motivated to do the good deed after an older woman asked the restaurant staff for help. 

Irfan Genc, 20, told The Independent that the idea was born out of an unexpected meeting with the elderly lady who turned up at the Shish Restaurant in Sidcup late one cold night. She told staff that the open windows in her home were too high for her to reach and she was too scared to get on a chair to try and close them, he said.  

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After she asked them for help, staff made the two minute journey to her home, receiving a hug and a thank you after they closed the windows and stopped the cold air drafting in.  

By way of a thank you, the following day, the lady returned to eat at the restaurant. Staff became “emotional” after she admitted she was lonely, Mr Genc said.  

“She said that she had nothing else to do other than wait for death because her husband died years ago and there was no one to care for her. She said she was also going to be alone on Christmas Day,” he added. “The old lady’s story really hit us. No matter what religion we’re from or language we speak, we’re here to help each other and support each other on a special day. We don’t want anyone to be left out.”

Her story inspired the Christmas Day meal plan and after Mr Genc and the restaurant’s other manager took the idea to its owners, they immediately gave them the go-ahead. The free three-course meal, available between 12pm and 6pm, includes a soup and Cacik as a starter, a choice of chicken casserole, vegetable casserole or a chicken shish as a main dish and rice pudding for dessert.