12/17 - It was a quiet night at a quiet restaurant. I was with my husband on a whim and a craving for french fries and other greasy treats. We took our seats in a hard plastic booth, just after a family of four sat diagonally across from us. With the tragedy of Sandy Hook still fresh in my mind, I could not stop smiling at the young girl and boy sitting with their parents. The girl was all done up in her Christmas best, sparkling in red crushed velvet. The family all prayed before their meal of small burgers and waters. Instead of the kids immediately pulling out their various electronics and the parents sitting silently, I watched as the family actually did something quite special: they talked. The four of them enjoyed their time together as a family, asking questions, telling stories, and laughing. I could not stop thinking about what a beautiful and blessed family I saw before me.
I pointed them out to my husband and we talked about how families rarely connect anymore. After telling him how this family really touched my heart for some reason (whether it be the Christmas spirit I was feeling, or relating them to Sandy Hook), we decided to pay for their meal. Why not let them enjoy a night out without worrying about paying for a bill? When we told our server, she seemed shocked and then let out a happy laugh. She gladly stalled them and brought us the bill. After paying for our meal and the family’s, I simply wrote “Merry Christmas” on the receipt, and my husband and I quickly high-tailed it out of there. I shared a quick smile with the wife of the family, and I hope she remembers my expression now. As we left, my server even gave us a hug and wished us happy holidays. While my husband and I pulled out of the parking lot, we watched through the diner’s window as the server was at the family’s table, pointing at our now-empty booth. My husband and I left there that night with a smile in our hearts. This was definitely a Random Act of Kindness I will remember for a long time.