It’s Wednesday night…and in our house that means one thing: we’re going out to dinner. Let’s just say that “kids eat free” have become three of my favorite words and my husband and I were looking forward to taking advantage of them. The downside? As we walked into the restaurant, it looked like every other parent in town had the exact same idea. It was crazy. Kids were everywhere….parents were trying to control them…there were yells, there were cries. It basically looked like what goes on at our house every night–just multiplied.
With my goal of proving that giving doesn’t have to mean going broke, I thought I had a genius idea. The restaurant has a special deal over the holidays…buy a $25 gift card and get an extra $5. Perfect. My plan: buy a gift card, use it for our dinner and give someone else our $5. Only one issue. (A ton of restaurants are doing this now, so let me share a quick warning if you’d like to do the same thing.) I assumed the $5 would also be a gift card that could be cashed in immediately. Not the case. Instead it was a $5 coupon that wasn’t valid until after January 1st. That’s fine…but I wanted to help someone RIGHT THEN, not 3 weeks from now. So after a bit of drama at the cash register, I came up with plan B and asked them to break up my gift card into a $20 card and a separate $5 one.
As we were leaving the restaurant I started looking around–giving a closer look to the people sitting at each of the tables. My goal was to find the lucky person that I wanted to surprise. My eyes crossed each table…most of them were families (see above to 3 of my favorite words), there were a few tables filled with couples or a group of friends. And then something caught my eye. Sitting at the bar was a man waiting for his food…alone. Bingo.
Looking back, I probably should have given more thought about how I was going to start this conversation. I walked up to him and asked if he was going to be dining alone. As soon as the words came out of my mouth I was embarrassed….I’m fairly certain he initially thought I was hitting on him. Then I handed him the gift card.
“Are you serious?” I smiled and just said, “Merry Christmas.” His response was just what I had hoped…”Wow–I don’t know what to say. Thank you–you’ve just made my day.”
Interesting observation: kindness surprises people, they really don’t expect it. I’m pretty sure this proves that the world needs more of it. And while it was a very small gesture to only one person, I”m hoping it made a difference.
I walked out of the restaurant and smiled…yep, that was the best $5 I could have spent.