Cappers Farmer

Stranger Insisted He Pick Up the Tab

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

“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

“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,

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

  • Published on Dec 20, 2012
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