Su Tao took a walk around the hospital before he came to the restaurant outside. He ordered a plate of fried rice and two side dishes. The restaurant wasn’t huge, but it was booming since it was close to the hospital. Many patient’s family members came here for their meal instead of the hospital’s cafeteria because it was affordable.
Su Tao sat in a corner as he ate and chatted with the boss, “Boss, you must be making a lot of money every day, right?”
The boss was a slightly plump man in his thirties. He waved his hand and smiled, “It’s okay I guess. I can still make a living from it. Judging from your accent, you don’t seem to be someone from Shanzhou Province?”
“I’m from Huainan Province. I’m here to do some errands and visited the hospital because I’m feeling unwell.” Su Tao smiled. Since he came here with the intention of investigating the hospital’s situation, he didn’t bring his medical box around him. He also wore a casual white shirt and black trousers.
As it wasn’t the busiest time in the restaurant, the boss sat opposite to Su Tao and said in a low voice, “I advise you to go somewhere else if you want to get some treatment.”
“Why?” Su Tao was surprised. “I checked and this hospital has many specialists. This is one of the best hospitals in Xijing City.”
The boss shook his head helplessly, “It’s true that they have many specialists, but they’re all young doctors. Those on the internet are just advertisements. In reality, no local comes here for treatment.”
Letting out a sigh, Su Tao expressed his gratefulness, “Thank you. If it weren’t for you, I would’ve already visited the hospital. So it’s true that people in Xijing City are straightforward.”
Feeling happy from Su Tao’s flattering, the boss smiled, “Logically speaking, my restaurant will become popular if the hospital has a good business. But over the past few years, the hospital’s management has become more chaotic. The management are all fighting among themselves and forcing many specialists to leave. Alas. Even when my daughter had a cold not long ago, I didn’t dare to bring her to this hospital.”
“It’s just a common cold. They can’t even treat a common cold?” Su Tao placed his chopsticks down. He was shocked by the boss’s revelation.
“It’s mainly because the hospital is expensive. You can treat it for ¥200 to ¥300 in other hospitals. But in this hospital, you don’t have to think about it unless you’re paying ¥800.” The boss secretly reminded. “Trust me. Don’t get scammed.”
At this moment, another customer came in and the boss went over to get busy. Su Tao also learned about the hospital’s problems from the boss.
Firstly, the management was poor. Secondly, the cost was too expensive for ordinary people to afford. Thirdly, the hospital lied to their customers about their specialists. But in reality, those specialists had already left.
Su Tao sighed. This was a total mess.
He wasn’t fast when he ate his meal. When he saw an elderly couple by the door, they were dressed plainly and their complexion was yellowish. It should be caused by the lack of nutrients. The couple were whispering among themselves. They wanted to enter, but they didn’t dare to.
The restaurant’s boss quickly noticed them and came over, “What do you want to eat?”
“How much does a bowl of plain rice cost?” The elderly woman asked. As she was speaking in Guanzhong dialect, Su Tao didn’t understand it.
“Plain rice doesn’t cost any money.” The boss said, straightforwardly.
“Then can we have two bowls of plain rice?” The elderly woman rejoiced.
“Two bowls of plain rice?” The boss was stunned. Plain rice doesn’t cost money on the prerequisite that you order some dishes. But if you didn’t order any dishes, wouldn’t it be a loss to his business?
“Yeah. Just two bowls of plain rice.” The man squeezed out a smile.
The boss had a straightforward personality. He was a businessman. Facing the couple who wanted to eat for free, he still had some bottomline in his morals. He explained, “I’m just making a small business here. If you order dishes, the rice will be considered free. But I can’t give you rice if you don’t order any dishes. It’s not because I’m being stingy, but if I make an exception, won’t others do the same as well?”
When the elderly man heard the boss’ words, he asked, “May I ask what’s the cheapest dish you have here?”
“¥8, fried potato shreds.” The boss sighed. He knew that this couple must have a poor financial condition. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have only ordered two bowls of plain rice.
“¥8!” The elderly man looked at his wife before shaking his head, “Forget it.”
But just when they were about to leave with their heads hung low, the boss immediately called out to them. “Forget it. Come in. I’ll make two dishes for you guys.”
The couple smiled awkwardly. The woman wiped her tears and replied, “I’ll be honest with you. We only have ¥10 with us, and our son is now lying in the emergency room. We still owe them medical fees.”
“Come in. This little brother over here told me that he’ll be paying for the meal.” The boss could tell that the couple wasn’t feigning it. He turned to Su Tao in admiration. There were many people in the restaurant, but there weren’t many who were willing to buy this elderly couple a meal, not to mention that he wasn’t a local.
“Thank you, but forget it.” The elderly man shook his head. He still had some backbone.
But the boss came over and dragged them into the restaurant with a smile, “Don’t refuse his goodwill. The two of you can eat here today with a peace of mind.”
Su Tao then whispered, “Since your son is lying in the emergency room, you can’t let yourself fall right now. Eat up and replenish yourself. You must take care of yourself in order to take care of your son. I’m treating you to a meal because I saw the love you guys have for your son. I’m not taking pity on you.”
“Thank you.” The elderly woman replied.
It didn’t take long for the boss to prepare four dishes. The portion was larger than usual as he smiled, “You can take them away if you can’t finish.”
“Thank you!” The elder woman had gratefulness flickering in her eyes.
After Su Tao was done eating, he went over to pay for the meal. When he went over to the boss, the boss smiled, “It’s said that people from Huainan Province are shrewd. But I didn’t expect to see such a straightforward young man like you.”
Su Tao gave extra ¥500 to the boss and lowered his voice, “No need for change. When they’re done eating, tell them that I left some money for their meal for the next few days.”
“You’re straightforward, young lad!” The boss sighed, nodding his head.
“I’m just helping where I can.” Su Tao waved his hand at the boss and left the restaurant.
After the boss took the money, he sighed helplessly. He had seen all kinds of people in his restaurant. He had met those who didn’t want to pay, those who caused trouble when they got drunk, and even thieves. But he never met someone so helpful like Su Tao.
A fragrant breeze blew by and the boss saw a familiar face.
It was a woman in her twenties. She had delicate facial features, permeating a youthful atmosphere around her. She wore a pink shirt, a blue knee-length trench coat on the outside, and boots that attracted men’s attention.
“Boss, who’s that person from before?” The woman smiled. Her smile seemed so bright as if it was the sunshine.
When the boss recovered from his shock, he felt embarrassed that he got flustered every time he saw her. Letting out a cough to cover up his embarrassment, he smiled, “Nurse He, I don’t know that young man. He’s new around. He’s from Huainan Province and he has a good heart. He says that he’s here to get treatment but I persuaded him to leave.”
“Persuaded him to leave? Why?” He Duo looked at the boss, shocked.
“I’m just telling the truth. How many qualified doctors are there in the hospital? He’s not someone around here. So how can I look at him jumping into a fire pit?” The boss replied.
“The hospital is a fire pit? Although the specialists aren’t in the hospital, there are still many responsible doctors around. It’s fine if you’re just telling that to me, but don’t let it go around. Otherwise, you will be in trouble.” He Duo replied.
“Alright. I’m just telling you about it. Don’t spread it out. Many doctors and nurses from your hospital orders from my restaurant.” The boss smiled.
“You’re afraid now?” He Duo smiled.
The boss let out an awkward chuckle. After He Duo paid for her meal, she glanced at the old couple and decided to look around in the hospital. She’d decided to help out if she could.
When Su Tao returned home, Liu Ruochen was busy in the hospital, “Wait a while. The food will be ready half an hour from now.”
Su Tao was placed in an awkward position. He had already eaten before he returned. But he couldn’t possibly refuse Liu Ruochen’s goodwill and smiled, “Alright. I’m already starving!”
Sometimes, a white lie could make the world a better place.
Liu Ruochen made a whole table of dishes. There were garlic scrambled eggs, fried pork with green pepper, fried bacon with bitter gourd, braised carp, and a stewed chicken soup. The food was delicious. Liu Ruochen even prepared a jar of fragrant grain rice.
Seeing that Su Tao only ate a little, Liu Ruochen asked curiously, “What’s the matter? They’re not suited to your taste?”
Waving his hand, Su Tao smiled, “The taste is great. But I already ate before I came back.”
“I see. Don’t eat then. I’ll throw the rest away.” Liu Ruochen wasn’t angry about it. She knew that Su Tao wasn’t doing it on purpose. Because Liu Ruochen didn’t tell Su Tao that she would be cooking for lunch.
“Haha! There’s no need to waste them. I’ll have them tonight.” Su Tao smiled. “I found something in the hospital today.”
Su Tao then shared his discovery in the morning with Liu Ruochen.
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