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Edinburgh author Tendai Huchu amazed by Gorgie shopkeeper’s ‘beautiful’ random act of kindness

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By Kevin Quinn, Evening Edinburgh News

An Edinburgh author has spoken of a random act of kindness by a shopkeeper he had never met before, who handed him his lunch to eat after he was left starving following a 30km run.

Zimbabwe-born author Tendai Huchu, who has written two novels – The Hairdresser of Harare and The Maestro, and The Magistrate & The Mathematician – popped into Aliza’s Food on Gorgie Road on Sunday afternoon, May 21, looking for a quick bite to eat after popping out for a training run as he prepares for the Edinburgh Marathon.

After struggling to find any quick food to eat in the store, Tendai was blown away with shopkeeper Qamar’s response.

He said: “I was about an hour later finishing my run than I’d hoped so I was in a rush and didn’t get the chance to have something to eat. So, I thought I would quickly grab something to eat in Gorgie. I went in looking for chocolate or Coke to give me an energy hit as I was feeling a bit foggy.

“There was nothing there I could grab and go. So I told him I was looking for a snack and I was starving. I was about to leave when he said ‘do you want some food?’ So I thought he was going to sell me something. But he just took his lunch out, chapati and chicken, warmed it up and set-up a chair for me to sit.

“I ate it very quickly as I was ravenous, it was amazing. He told me he was from Pakistan so we got talking about cricket. He really knows his stuff, I’m just a casual viewer really. He had so much knowledge about the Zimbabwean game. It was such a beautiful thing he did for me, a stranger. I asked Qamar why he did this and he said the Koran teaches you that if your neighbour is hungry you should feed him, so he did, it wasn’t a big deal to him.”

After spending 10 minutes at Aliza’s with Qamar, Tendai decided to tweet about this random act of kindness, and was blown away by the response on the social media platform, receiving 12,500 likes and more than 2,000 re-tweets. He now hopes people will hear this story and support the Gorgie Road shop, which only opened three weeks ago.

He said: “I had his lunch, said thank you and as I left I took a quick photo of the place, went for my meeting, and did the podcast. Then in the evening I thought I would tweet about this kind incident. In the morning when I woke up it was crazy the response it had got. I found it really surprising. It was such a beautiful gesture and it really resonated in a way that surprised me.

“It’s a new business and we are all struggling just now with the cost of living crisis. So it would be nice to help him out. The shop lives and dies by its customers, so I really hope it does well. He deserves it to be a success, as he clearly a good man.”

Tendai added that he plans to return to the shop after spotting oxtail when he was there, which he plans to use to cook a traditional Zimbabwean meal at home.