Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pay it Forward

Tonight I encountered a pleasant surprise. Wednesday afternoons my daughter has choir practice in Indianapolis, ending at 5:45. Thus we often eat dinner at a restaurant on the way home, otherwise we are dining at around 7 pm. And that is not a good eating time for kids in the midwest. Tonight we decided to stop at a Cracker Barrel for dinner, right next to our more usual haunt, Steak-n-Shake. Dinner was as expected for Cracker Barrel, with fine service and good homestyle-ish food. But when the server came for the last time, she announced that she was afraid she couldn't give me a check, as someone else had already paid it and left the restaurant. This food-financier picked us, I suspect randomly, to pay forward a good deed. The guy at the table behind me was insanely jealous, even complaining to his own server about it. I still left a tip, and do plan to pay forward someone else's meal at some point, when I have time to scope the dining room to pick a table that looks worthy.

7 comments:

From The Podium said...

What a great story.

My mother-in-law tried this once - at a drive-thru coffee shop, after ordering at one window, she went to the next to pay, and on the spur of the moment decided to pay for the order of the car behind her as well. After she convinced the poor soul behind the window that this was really what she wanted to do, she paid both orders and drove off. The guy followed her, and flagged her down - she pulled over and he said "There's been a mistake you were charged for my order" offering her money in the process. She said "there was no mistake". He was shocked and said "Oh ... I don't know what to say".

Perhaps ... Thank you?

Skwid said...

This happened to me and my ex twice, both times were former student's parents buying the meals, although we didn't even know that about the first one until later.

Marc Geelhoed said...

This happened to a history professor at Ball State I know. It was a large dinner, maybe 7 or 8 people, back in the '90s when the Bosnia war was in the press. He explained all the ethnic conflicts to his guests as they ate, and someone at the next table over paid their check. He said he'd learned so much that he owed it to them in gratitude.

Harlan said...

That's really cool, I'm going to try it at a drive-through. :-)

Scott said...

I have had this happen at the main dining hall here at school. DePauw students pay for their food with a debit card system, withdrawing money that they or their parents paid to the university at the beginning of the semester. This is a use-it-or-lose-it system, resetting each semester. So at the end of each semester students with a lot left on their card will splurge, sometimes on professors next to them in line. I've also had students invite me over to their frat house for lunch or dinner, or treat me to dinner at the campus restaurant (again on their card).

Mom said...

Did it occur to you that those 2 very cute and bright children with you might have been the reason you were chosen?

Scott said...

Possible. They were well-behaved that night, plus we had the school teddy bear (Snowball) with us. Snowball has an adventure with a new student every day, writing about it in his journal with the help of that student. On Wednesday Snowball got to travel to Indy, sing in choir, run around Monument Circle, and eat at Cracker Barrel. Quite the life for a teddy bear.