The following two stories about Ukrainian refugees having been to hell and back, as well as Hungarians’ hospitality towards them, are nothing short of heartwarming.
Eugene Katchalov, a professional poker player, was born in Kyiv, but he now lives in New York. On 5 March, he posted on Twitter that they were having breakfast in a café in Budapest with his wife, and when another customer overheard them speaking Ukrainian, she simply paid their bill on the way out.
Although she was told that they did not need it, the woman from Budapest replied that she knew, but it was not about the money, it was about the gesture. “My wife cried,” Katchalov writes.
But that is not the end of the story: half an hour later, a man came up to them, gave them his business card, and said should they need anything, they just have to reach out to him. “I can’t find the words,” Katchalov added.
In a third tweet, the poker champion added that when he tried to give the waiter a sizeable tip as he was leaving, the waiter rushed to return it. As Katchalov did not take it back, the waiter told him that he would donate the money to an organisation that helped Ukraine.
As Index reported, one of the capital’s biggest hotels, Hotel Budapest, opened its doors to temporarily accommodate Ukrainian refugees. By now, out of 100 free spaces, 84 have been taken.
“We find that some of the refugees have no specific plans for the future, for example, in one of our rooms, there is a pregnant mother with her husband and their two-year-old child. They left everything behind, came here with two suitcases and are waiting for things to get better,”
Balázs Klemm, CEO of Hotel & More Group, the company that operates Hotel Budapest, told Index.
Hungary has already been involved in the evacuation of thousands of Indian students in recent days. One such large group has just been accommodated at Hotel Budapest with the help of the Indian Embassy in Budapest.
When Index went to meet them, they were already getting ready to go to the airport and fly home.
One of them, Fatima, who is training to be a doctor, told Index:
“I can’t believe we’ll be returning to India soon, my parents were so worried about me. They were constantly reading the news, following the events and were terrified that something would happen to me. I think it was harder for them than it was for me, it was a completely different experience from the inside.”
Hemanth, a 19-year-old refugee, said the following about his experience in Ukraine since the beginning of the war:
“I was in a shelter for five days, it was incredibly scary, I have never been so scared in my life. We had hardly any food, we had no idea if we would even survive.”
Adil, Hemanth’s best friend, continued recalling the events:
“It was very difficult to get out of the city, we tried to get on several trains, but everywhere they gave priority to Ukrainian citizens, so we ended up walking a long way with heavy suitcases in our hands. We are grateful to have been able to rest in Hungary for a weekend and were touched by the kindness and helpfulness we received at the hotel.”
Source: hvg.hu, Index.hu