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“Don’t put your dirty tray next to my kids!” – Diner’s attempt to return food tray triggers dispute at Clementi Mall




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A diner’s attempt to return a food tray she had used triggered a scuffle at the food court at Clementi Mall last Friday, when another diner made a fuss over the tray being placed near her children.

42-year-old housewife Mdm Lim, a frequent patron of the food court, told reporters that she finished her meal around 6.15pm and noticed that the usual cleaner was working that day. Since the cleaner is an elderly woman who has difficulty moving, Mdm Lim went up to her and placed the tray on the table beside the cleaner’s trolley:

“The frequent customers here know the cleaning aunty has difficulty moving around. We don’t want to make her job difficult so after eating we will put our trays on the table near to her trolley where she can reach them.”

Mdm Lim’s gesture, however, angered another patron who was dining with his wife and two children. Mdm Lim recounted that the man rose from his seat and yelled at her: “Don’t put your dirty tray next to my kids!”

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When Mdm Lim shared her intentions to help the elderly cleaner and pointed out that the table was large enough to seat 8 people, the man whipped out his mobile phone and told Mdm Lim that he would “make her famous” on the Internet.

Mdm Lim said that the table was big enough to sit 8 people, and she left the tray there to make life easier for the cleaning aunty.

She said that the man, seeing that she didn’t respond, took out his handphone and took a photo of her and said he would make her “famous” on the internet. Mdm Lim recounted that she left the scene, afraid that the situation would escalate into a physical fight:

“I tried to explain but he wouldn’t listen, so I left with my friend and my son. As I was leaving, I thought I also better take a photo of the man, so I took out my handphone and snapped a photo of him from a distance. He saw me do that and rushed towards me, trying to grab my handphone. I was scared he would attack me so I called the police.”

Police officers who arrived at the scene helped cool tensions between the male diner and Mdm Lim. Mdm Lim, however, revealed that she plans to pursue the matter further:

“I went to the police station to make a police report that night. I’m also planning to lodge a Magistrate’s Complaint against that man.”

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