A unique establishment in the Central Highlands resort town of Da Lat in Lam Dong Province trust its customers to serve and pay for themselves, leaving the store vulnerable after closing hours.
Quan Cua Thoi Thanh Xuan (The Café of Youth), a social project that aims to help young deaf people to live, earn and develop themselves, had an unspecified amount of money inside a wooden box stolen on September 27.
The café welcomes its customers even after closing hours and during employee holidays, trusting customers to go inside the store, serve themselves and pay on their own, putting the money in the wooden box.
But someone came to the café, broke open the box and took away the money and a few other objects on the night of September 27.
The destroyed money box of Quan Cua Thoi Thanh Xuan coffee shop in Da Lat. Photo from the cafe’s Facebook page.
The café’s reaction to the theft was right out of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables novel.
“No one who’s living a prosperous life would do this. Maybe that person is having some problems or issues in life. We hope that the amount of money taken would help that person solve his/her problems to some degree,” said a Facebook post on the café’s Fanpage last Wednesday.
The post has received thousands of likes and hundreds of comments, with most expressing sympathy for the café’s misfortune and condemning whoever stole the store’s money.
“It’s so sad! Who would ever do that? I love the café and its employees,” wrote Trinh Kim Oanh.
“We give kindness to each other, but why would we lose such a beautiful thing because of greed? Life truly is incomprehensible,” wrote Nguyet Truong.
In the past, the café, which sells food and drinks like cakes and tea, had no price tags for their services. Instead, they let their customers decide how much they wanted to pay, Nguyen Hieu, the café’s communications representative, told VnExpress International.
“Our café’s was originally intended to be a place for deaf people to learn how to work with and communicate with other people with normal hearing. Afterwards, when the café started to sell other products like souvenirs, we kept to our tradition, ” Hieu said.
“We call our café the House of Youth. It is where deaf people and the hearing-unimpaired can live, work, learn and grow together,” he said.
The store had decided to neither report the incident to the police, nor install cameras as “it would look weird for the café.”
“It’s just a little bit of lost money. Our trust in people remains the same. Life is inherently simple and beautiful; it’s just that people are complex.”