The impact of a stranger’s #RandomActOfKindness

By in Being Canadian, Thoughts/Reflections on August 1, 2014

About nine years ago my husband and I were expecting our first child. We were relatively newly married, just bought a house and saving everything we could to start building our new life together. It was a special occasion and we had gotten an amazing coupon to a great restaurant in downtown Toronto that our phone service provider had sent us in the mail as a thank you for being a valued customer. We figured we’d make a night of it, got all dolled up and headed downtown for supper. We knew that we’d get to eat at this great, trendy restaurant and have a wonderful night. We got a great seat right by the window, overlooking downtown Toronto, ordered carefully off the menu, perusing each item, taking in the ambiance but also silently adding up the total, making sure that the bill and tip at the end of the meal was within budget as young couples starting out their lives together often do.

The food was delicious, though I can’t remember nearly a decade later what it was that we had ordered, all I remember is what happened at the end of the meal. We ordered and shared a delicious, decadent chocolate desert (yes, I remember it was chocolate) and took it all in. Then we asked for the bill. The waitress walked over to us with the bill; a summary of what we had ordered that evening with a sum total of $0 at the bottom. Clearly something had to be wrong. It didn’t make sense. I even had a coupon to pay for a large portion of the meal, why would it say zero?

We asked to speak with the manager who smiled as he strolled through the restaurant. He discreetly pointed over to a large table with several business men sharing a meal. He told us that our meal and the tip had been taken care of by the gentleman in the grey suit. I was stunned. There I sat, recently married, visibly pregnant, all dolled up and confused. I walked over to the gentleman in the grey suit and asked:

“Excuse me…” He interrupted me “Yes.”
“Did you just….” “Yes.”
“Do I know…” “No you don’t.” “But…”
“No need,” he interrupted me. “No need for a thank you. I looked over at you and your husband sitting by the window and you reminded me of someone I once knew. Have a good evening.” And with that he turned his body back to his dinner mates, ending the conversation.
“Thank you” I said over the loud dinner crowd as I walked away from the table.

A random act of kindness. I know it was not the first time I had been the recipient of such a selfless act of kindness but it stood out for me. It taught me in that moment what a tremendous difference a simple act of selflessness can do for someone. That meal wound up hardly being about the restaurant, the food or the new dress I had worn but rather that selfless act of kindness that complete stranger had done for us. I told myself in that moment that one day, I want to be that person. I want to be the person who completely changes a stranger’s day, evening or week simply by being kind. Have you ever experienced a selfless act of kindness?

8 thoughts on “The impact of a stranger’s #RandomActOfKindness

  1. 1

    That is amazing, Fariha. What a kind gentleman he was. You must have reminded him of someone very special. Seeing you probably made his day just as special he made yours. Great story, especially when all we seem to hear these days is bad, depressing news. Nice to read about the good in people for a change :)

    • 2

      Thank you Sandy! You’re so kind. I think we’re all feeling a little overwhelmed with bad news. I figured I’d share a beautiful story that really impacted me, if even it was from nearly a decade ago :)

  2. 3

    Amazing tale. It’s great to know that there are people who truly want to see joy in the lives of others. Thanks for sharing it :) Good way to end the week!

  3. 5

    That was a nice thing for him to do, random acts of kindness are great things.

  4. 6

    What a beautiful story! I absolutely love to hear when random acts of kindness happen. Truly amazing!

  5. 7

    What a beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes while I was reading it.
    I too had an amazing #RandomActOfKindness happen to me last December. I am on a very fixed low income. I was grocery shopping and when I went to pay, my bank card wasn’t working so I put a few items back to lower the amount. I then asked the cashier to hold my groceries while I went to find a payphone (no, I don’t have a cell phone) to contact the bank to figure out what happened. After speaking to the bank, I then went back to the grocery store and stood in line to get to the same cashier. When I got to her, I said that I had some cash and let’s put more items back to bring the bill down to what I had. The lady behind me started making comments & me being embarrassed by the situation, lowered my head and ignored her. The lady then spoke to the cashier. The cashier then started handing me back the items that I had handed to her. I looked at her and said, No, I have to put these items back, My bill is too high. The cashier then said that the lady behind me had just offered to pay my entire bill, no the just amount that I was short. I had never had anything like that happen to me before. I started shaking, had tears running down my face. I couldn’t thank the woman enough. It was an unreal feeling.

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