Last Thursday, Blake and I decided at the last minute to eat dinner with Audrey at our old standby Binkley's. We snagged a table outside on the covered patio and hoped that Audrey running around in our little corner, shrieking and touching everything, wasn't annoying the nice looking older couple seated nearby. B and I had a lot to talk about and Audrey was in a pretty cooperative mood, so the evening was off to a good start. She colored and sat on our laps while we waited to order. We played with her and she was laughing about everything. We were happy to be together, outside, with no dishes to do and a fun-filled weekend just a day a way.
Then. Audrey, who now insists on "I try" for everything from putting on her own shoes and changing her diaper to driving the car (!) and drinking out of a full water glass, spilled said water glass, sending water and ice all over the table. No big deal. We didn't panic or get mad. Just said "uh oh!" and gratefully accepted the napkin that the gentleman-half of the nearby couple immediately offered - it was like, he heard the glass hit the table and his arm instantly shot behind his head with the napkin in it, he didn't even turn around. I caught the woman-half of the couple's eyes and said "thank you!" with a smile. She responded "we've been there." We wiped up the table, placed our order, and moved on with our conversation and coloring. The couple finished their wine and disappeared. Our waitress stopped by our table a minute later and asked us "did you know that couple sitting there?" pointing to the couple's table. We said that no, we didn't, why?
"They just paid your bill."
What? Are you kidding? Why? I was stunned and overwhelmed by the graciousness of it, the kindness, the thought, the generosity, the randomness. I started crying as the waitress simply explained that they had asked for our bill and then paid it. That was it. We hadn't even gotten our food yet. And, we couldn't thank them. Shoot, I didn't even take a good enough look at them to pick them out of a crowd.
I've heard of this kind of thing happening before. And, even though I don't know that Blake and I are especially deserving of such kindness (I mean, they had already done enough by just tolerating us and our 2 year old and sharing a napkin when we needed it) or in need of such generosity (we have plenty of money to pay for our own meals out), that's kind of what made it even more touching. These people didn't care who we were, whether we were good people, or whether we are responsible with our resources. They just saw us and gave. Sure, they might have seen themselves in us, or their own children and grandchildren in us. Maybe they had just received a windfall and decided to share it. Maybe they thought we were having a bad evening (though we weren't) and needed some cheer or that we were clearly working hard to be good parents (which we were) and needed some support. Maybe it just made them feel good. I don't know.
What I do know though is that it made us feel good. Really good. It warmed our souls and reminded us that the world is a good place and that we are lucky to be raising our little girl in this community.
I think my friend Meggie would call this random act of tear-inducing kindness a sussy and you can be sure that we will be paying it forward again and again.