This is a true story that happend to me and my family last night, and I really need to share it with you all. It is kind of a long post, but I need to discribe the situation so you get the feel of it.
Well, the kids didn't have school since last Friday, and since Christpher has been sick, we couldn't go anywhere. It was the last night of the 4 day weekend, so, my husband and I decided to take them to IHOP (for those of you who live outside of the US... IHOP is a big chain restaurant that specializes in pancakes).
We got there, and as we were going in, an older couple came in from the parking lot. My husband, held the door open for them, and we exchanged smiles and we sat at our booth.
If you have been reading my blog for a while might guessed that since I love thrift stores and garage sales, I LOVE COUPONS. I had and ad for IHOP with coupons saying, "Buy one entree, second one free". Also, on the add, it said, "kids eat free with purchase of an adult entree". I was thinking, "hmm... which route will save us more money?" My math loving husband helped me calculate everything and came to the conlusion that if he and I order something for $12 or less each, two of the kids meals will be free and additional kids meal would be only 1.99. It is cheaper than, doing "buy one entree get second one free" and buying three kids meals at regular price. We were discussing this at the table.
Everytime we go to IHOP, not that often, we always get the same thing. We had nice chat with our waitress explaining that and wanted to try something new. We pointed out what we were looking at and got her opininons. We decided to go with her suggestions and try the new entrees.
I also asked her if I could exchange the buttermilk pancakes for sweedish pancakes. She told me that it will cost me additional $1.59, which would put my entree over $12. I said, "uh! no, I will stick with the plan, buttermilk pancake is fine."
While we were waithing for our food, as we always do, we talked, we laughed, and sometimes, we had to discipline our kids. For example, "Hey, cover your mouth when you cough", "Sit straight", "Don't kick your brother under the table". During this time we had a friendly talk with the older couple(wife) who sat the booth next to us for little bit too.
The wait was quite long, the kids were getting restless, but our food finally came. By this time the older couple, had finished eating and were ready to leave. The lady stood up and leaned over to us and said,"You have such well behaved children. You are doing such a wonderful job." the husband had very warm genuine smile on his face too. This was unexpected and caught us by suprise, we said, "Thanks" and smiled. Then, they left.
Wow, that is so nice of them, I thought. We try to raise our children to be nice, polite and cuuteous people, but as a parent, you never know if you are doing a good job or not. Perhaps, maybe, until they are all grown-up. It was so nice for this everyday worrier mom to hear. My husband and I talked about them how nice they were.
After a short while, our waitress came to our table, she had our bill in her hand. She said, "Well, your dinner is all taken care of."
My husband and I were looking at each other and didn't say anything. Well, I couldn't say anything. Later we conformed to each other, what went through in our minds at that moment.
I was thinking, "What? Did she just say what I just thoutght she said? (English is my secound langage and I can make mistakes) Maybe I heard wrong."
He was thinking, "What? What did she just say? Did we win something from IHOP for being like 100,000th customer or something? Oh Crap, We should have ordered more!"
Because we were frozen and didn't say anything, the waitress had to repeat like two or three more times. "Your dinner is all taking care of. Another costmer paid for it."
Wow... she never said who, but my husband and I felt that it must been that elderly couple that sat next to us. We were speechless for a while and that doesn't happen in our household... ever. My eyes starting to tear up. That was such a nice gesture.
It is easy to be nice to someone you love and know, but to be nice to a complete stranger takes a special kind of person.
I don't know why they decided to pay for our dinner, perhaps they felt bad for this coupon using couple and the wife who didn't even go for sweedish pancakes or maybe, they just love to hear our convasation and wanted to do something nice. We will never know.
But, they definately left an implessinon on our hearts. After what happend to us I have been thinking about "pay it forward". Because they did something nice to me, I will do something nice to several people, and hopefully, they will do the same. Not eveyone can afford to pay for someone's dinner, but small things like holding the door open for the people behind you or even just a smile and saying hello could lighten up someone's day.
If this chain of Pay it Forward keeps going, can you imagine how many people can be uplifted?
It may sound corny, but I like corny. Doesn't Pay it forward sound nice? Perhaps I should start with me.