Altruism can trump trade interests, after all


There’s a golden rule that newspapers traditionally obey: never publish a story that can be seen as an endorsement of a commercial interest. However, Tesco deserves such a plug for showing that its “Because we care” claim is more than just a meaningless slogan.

For this, the company has to thank Radzuan Ma’asan, the general manager of its branch in Alma, Penang.

By now, the story of Radzuan’s kindness has made it all over the Internet, and we won’t object to the publicity given to Tesco.

Not only did Radzuan decide against sending a shoplifter to the police, he even offered the man a job.

The 31-year-old father of three was caught stealing fruits and drinks worth less than RM30. Explaining why he did it, he said he had lost his job and had no money to feed his children, aged between two and seven years. Furthermore, his wife is in a coma in a hospital after suffering a birth complication. The baby did not survive.

Radzuan said the management checked and found the story to be true.

“In my 23 years of experience in the retail line, I had never come across thieves who admitted their act so easily,” he said in a press interview. “He also told us that he was unable to work as he had to look after his children. So we decided not to lodge a police report as this was a genuine case of extreme poverty.”

Radzuan offered the man some cash and then asked if he would like a job at the store.

Kudos to Tesco and Radzuan for proving that human concerns can trump commercial interests.
Had Radzuan decided to make the man pay for his crime, the three children would have been left in a more desperate situation, with the father in prison and the mother in hospital. Reports say that the family is putting up at a poor relative’s house.

This is a case of a corporate body fulfilling its social responsibility.

Sometimes, giving a person a second chance is better than punishing him with a fine and a jail term, as was done recently to a housewife who lifted a packet of Milo for her hungry child.