"I was out to buy food but was ordered to go home."
An Australian-Indian man living in Melbourne broke lockdown rules by travelling 32 kilometres to satisfy his craving for butter chicken.
However, he was stopped and fined $1,652 AUD (£930) for violating the rules.
Construction worker Noel Atkinson, who is half-Indian, drove from Melbourne’s suburb of Werribee to the city centre in search of butter chicken on July 17, 2020.
He was just metres from the Desi Dhaba restaurant when he was pulled over by the police.
Mr Atkinson explained: “Since it was after 11 pm, all restaurants in my area were closed and I wanted to have butter chicken.
“I grew up eating Indian food since my mother is from Ambala. I finally found one restaurant but there was no home delivery to my place due to the distance. So, I decided to go there.”
Mr Atkinson received an infringement notice for violating the law.
He said: “I told police I was out to buy food but was ordered to go home. Cops followed me for some time to make sure I was headed back.”
Following a new surge in Coronavirus cases, the state of Victoria has gone back under lockdown.
Citizens have been told that they can only go out in their local area for essential items.
After receiving the hefty fine, Mr Atkinson plans to contest it.
“I don’t think the rules are clear on how far a person is allowed to travel for food or takeaway.”
“I will ask police to waive off the fine or approach the local court.”
Mr Atkinson’s desperate craving for butter chicken and subsequent fine attracted a lot of social media attention. Netizens were quick to label it the “world’s most expensive butter chicken”.
One Indian restaurant even took inspiration from Mr Atkinson’s story and created an innovative marketing campaign for their home delivery service ‘Save $1,650 by staying home’.
The incident was not all bad news for the man as the restaurant he was travelling to heard what had happened. They have now announced that he can have free butter chicken from them for a year.
Amit Teteja is the owner of Desi Dhaba. He revealed that he was taken aback by the man’s devotion to butter chicken.
He told Times of India: “I will be providing him free butter chicken once he is able to visit us post-lockdown.”
After hearing of the gesture, Mr Atkinson joked that it would make the fine “easier to digest”.