Since the start of Covid-19, Yafa Cafe has been creatively continuing to offer the community our unique style of Arabic street food. In our efforts, we enhanced our delivery and pick-up services and offered outdoor patio seating in front of the restaurant.
Our Patio Expansion
We found that seating outside the front of the restaurant was nice but noisy from the street traffic. This need for quieter outdoor seating is where the idea came to expand our back-patio area, adding seating, lights, decor, a garden, and music. This patio would also offer a lovely choice for physical distancing and when the weather is beautiful even when our restaurant’s dine-in area is open.
In our efforts, we purchased patio items such as stainless-steel tables, wicker chairs, flowerpots, decor, and other seating. The patio area was shaping up to be as we hoped, and we put all the items out on Friday, June 12th.
Thieves in the Night
Over the weekend, we came to open the restaurant to discover someone stole our patio furniture and decor. Our hearts broke that someone in our neighbourhood could take from us during the hard time’s businesses are having due to Covid-19. The monetary value was not high, but during this time, every dollar counts. The destruction of the expansion and the disappointment in our fellow humans were even more of a loss.
Springing into Action
We took to social media and local news to tell the story of our loss. The community responded strongly to what had happened. Neighbours and other businesses offered tables, chairs, and umbrellas to replace the stolen items. Our hearts were grateful, but we were afraid that if we replaced the items, the thieves would return and take them. We were not willing to take this chance with other people’s patio furniture.
A neighbouring business, Alpha Technologies Inc., caught a security camera video of the thieves. They posted the video on YouTube. Other members of the community and business owners took to social media sharing the video and going on the hunt. The people in the community formed a small army and were not going to allow this in their neighbourhood.
Caught and Returned
The efforts of everyone in the community who shared the video and the local news coverage paid off! Due to social media shares, callouts, and community help, the police located the thieves who stole our furniture, ornaments, and flowerpots. Unbelievably, we also came to the restaurant to find all the missing items at our doorstep. This unexpected return was a surprising turn of events. We never anticipated seeing any of our patio furniture or decor again.
Patio Expansion and Security
Due to the circumstances, we have decided to delay the patio expansion for now. We plan to install concrete furniture that will be difficult to steal. Since the furniture reappeared, we will still offer some outdoor seating and make adjustments to protect our property. We will bring in furniture at night, add some lighting, and add another security camera.
A Big Thank You
We cannot thank you enough for your efforts to help us. We knew we had thoughtful neighbours, but this has shown that we can count on you in times of need. The videos, sharing, and callouts helped police catch the thieves, and amazingly the items were returned! This outcome was due to your caring actions and wish to help your neighbour in their time of distress. Our thanks will be everlasting and expressed as much as possible. We will always be here for you as well, the community and the people in it mean so much to us.
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