An elderly man in Malaysia was recently seen dining at a large table in a restaurant with food, plates and drinks set neatly for eight persons -- but he was the only one to partake of the meal eventually.
The bizarre scene initially drew curious stares from other diners, but upon further contemplation, all thoughts that ostracise and mock the strange behaviour gave way to sympathy.
It was deduced that the man may be missing his family and this was his coping mechanism and the only way of reliving the moments of eating together with them in their absence.
The circumstances surrounding why the man ordered enough food for a large family only to dine alone is still not known, but details regarding what was observed that evening was put up on Facebook on March 18 and reshared on April 25.
What fellow diner witnessed
The elderly man was apparently at the restaurant at about 10:30pm and was seen seated by himself at the table.
The person who observed what happened that evening and who wrote the post had gone to the restaurant with his wife and children after shopping for groceries.
While at the restaurant, he saw the elderly man carefully arranging plates of food and cups of iced tea around the table neatly.
Not much was made of it at that time, as it was assumed the elderly man was just waiting for the rest of his dining companions to show up.
Elderly man still alone
However, by the time the man who was with his family had almost finished eating, they noticed that the elderly man was still alone and had already started eating his meal without anyone else showing up.
Other customers in the restaurant had also noticed the solo diner at the large table.
Asked waiter about it
When curiosity got the better of him, the man who wrote the post proceeded to ask the waiter about the elderly diner.
The waiter replied: “That’s just him. He does this all the time by ordering eight portions of food and drinks. He said he’s dining in with his family but we don’t know if they’re still alive.”
Revelation hit hard
The man who wrote the post said this revelation hit his wife hard, and she started to cry on the spot, and this also caused his children to be sad.
He wrote that he had noticed the elderly man talking to himself as if he was speaking to others around the empty table while eating.
Another observation he made was that at one point, when a patron walked past the table and bumped into one of the empty chairs, the elderly man did not react negatively but calmly repositioned the chair properly back to its original position.
Paid meal in full
According to the wait staff, the elderly man would dine in alone two to three times a week, each time ordering for eight people, consuming his share, paying in full, and packing the rest of the untouched food with him.
The Facebook post speculated if the man had obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, but reiterated that he appeared well-dressed, was wearing a face mask, and had money to pay for everything.
The man who wrote about the incident subsequently told Malaysian media that he is requesting for the location of the restaurant not to be publicised out of respect for the elderly man's privacy, and for those who encounter him to just let him be and have his meals in peace.
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