Stranger Insisted He Pick Up the Tab

A reader shares the story of a nice young man she met in an international restaurant and how he insisted he pick up the tab.


Nice young gentleman decides to pick up the tab for a stranger.

Photo By Fotolia/Danny Hooks

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Recently after an annual medical physical and having fasted, I was extremely hungry and looking forward to a breakfast that included the food I restrained from eating all year. The restaurant I chose for this indulgence, as in past years, is a highly respected, booming, international eating place that specializes in breakfasts. The pleasant hostess escorted me to a table against the window side of the restaurant where tables are closely placed side by side. As I scanned the menu, I noticed a young Asian man sitting at the table to the left.  He looked at me, extended his hand and said, “Hi, my name is Tommy.” I reached out, clasped his hand and said, “My name is Betty.”

“Do you come here often?” he asked.

“Only once a year,” I answered.

Tommy told me he worked part time at a real estate firm and attended classes at Kansas University, taking 17 credits toward an international business degree.

“I don’t have time for big breakfasts very often,” he said.

We exchanged the reputable merits of Kansas University while waiting for our food to arrive. Our food arrived, and we both began eating.

“How’s your breakfast?” he asked.

“Mmmm-mmm,” was all I could muster with my mouth full as I enjoyed every delicious bite. A cell phone call interfered with Tommy’s meal.

“Hello,” he said, and with a few more words into the mouthpiece, he hurriedly ate his remaining breakfast, then got up to leave. “I enjoyed our conversation,” he said, and to my astonishment he picked up my check.

“Oh, you can’t do that,” I said with an attempt to retrieve the check.

He simply smiled and walked away. After paying the check, he came back to the table and left a sizable tip. I was at a loss for words, but I did manage a “Thank you.”

My eyes followed Tommy as he walked to the exit. There, he turned and waved.

I left the restaurant with a full stomach, content, and the physical exam long forgotten. I opened my hands to the heavens and cried, “What a wonderful world this is.”

Betty Stinar Swisher
Kansas City, Missouri

Read more tales of generosity by CAPPER's readers in Stories of Helping Others.