Last night at work an unusual event occurred.
Couple sitting at table 24, he's mid thirties and ordinary she's late twenties and drop dead gorgeous, are enjoying a grazing meal and nice bottle of red wine. They are engaging without being high maintenance and easy to serve, asking a couple of questions but obviously seasoned diners.
As I offer the dessert card they ask about the table sitting in front of them, another couple with similar demographics,
"So what's the deal?" he asks "Do you think it's an anniversary?"
"I don't think so" I reply "I'm sure they would have mentioned a special occasion when booking."
"Well we think they look really cute together, and are obviously enjoying their evening out" he says "can you just add their bill to mine? Oh and don't tell them"
"Sure" I reply, a bit taken aback.
"Great" he says "just bring us the cheque please"
I bring the, now larger, bill and he hands me a card. I run the card through and return it.
"That's a lovely gesture" I remark
"Yeah, well sometimes you just have to do nice things" she says.
"If they ask just tell them the pretty blonde sitting behind them wanted to buy them dinner" he says.
They leave and I clear the billfold which contains the expected large tip, I mean if they're gonna pick up a $200 tab for strangers chances are they are good tippers.
Fifteen minutes or so later I clear "Lucky Couple" and offer desserts, they decline but order two glasses of port. They enjoy the port and when I offer a refill they decline and ask for the cheque. I bring the bill and tell them the story, as requested.
They are obviously shocked but handle it well, very well for me as he drops $100 cash for a $21 tab, and upon leaving the woman says
"We've decided to "pay it forward", the next time we see something we feel deserves it we're going to buy them dinner, or buy the kid in the Toy store the thing he/she is admiring - who knows maybe it will catch on"
If random acts of kindness catch on I think we'll all be better off for it.
PS - when I related this story to my co-workers most of the female ones went " aah what a sweet story", most of the male co-workers were confused or implied that there must be something sexual at work, "probably swingers" said sommelier.
Convinced that this was a gender gap I was surprised, but probably shouldn't have been, when wife and jaded friend's take was that it was all some elaborate role-playing game which ended up with both couples in the sack.
So much for Random Acts of Kindness - most people wouldn't believe them anyway.