This afternoon I am having coffee with a colleague in the cafeteria at work. It’s 5pm, the cafeteria is about to close. The staff – a nice man with whom we have known each other by sight for a while me being a recurrent customer – asks me if he can give me a croissant gratis, he had 2 trays left, with 10-15 croissants on each.

I say thank you, but no thank you – not hungry. Having heard my reply, he takes Tray#1 and…. brushes its content into the waste bin.

I ask wowowoah what he’s doing, why he is not giving it away to charity, for homeless of weet ik niet, the answer being: that’s the prescribed rule related to bakery products: he either sells them or gives the remaining pieces away to colleagues, but it is forbidden to do anything else with the rest.

So he takes Tray#2, opens the lid of the waste bin, and…

‘Wait. Stay where you are, do not move, I want to see your hands.’

He freezes, but confirms to me he will not move.

‘So you say you can give me, your last client today, any of these gratis if I want, correct?’


‘I want all pieces from this tray, can you pack?

You know I am passing by the picturesque Brussels-North railway station each and every day returning home from work, and I can assure you those people who are permanent inhabitants there would find this rule really surreal. So do I, by the way.’

He is very cooperative, so I am arriving at the railway station with 2 neatly prepared packages, both full of fresh&crispy croissants.

Allocating them to the proper target audience is easier said than done – there ARE people sitting on the floor, no mistake there, but which one of them to approach without risking to insult them with the presumption that they need food from a stranger?

My concerns are gone within 2 nanoseconds when I see the first gentleman round the corner who has apparently planned to arrange for his dinner from one of the public trash cans at the station. I approach him with the croissants – no hard feelings on his behalf, it seems.

Ps: I am planning to set up a permanent cooperation agreement with the work cafeteria: in case there are pieces of bakery products left, I am willing to take them over and deliver them to Brussels-North.

Good for my sense of fairness, for the recipients’ stomach, and the cafeteria colleague can also spare some waste bin openings.

For the sake of fun just let’s stop for a moment, and try to think, can we?

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