Dinner Out & The Kindness of Strangers

It was a typical Friday night in North Carolina; typical families dining out in typical fashion.  Ashley and Jason England are typical parents to two great boys; although not quite typical.  Riley is 8 years old and his brother, Logan is 4.  The family had decided to go to dinner one Friday night with the boys’ grandmother and great-grandmother to the Stag & Doe restaurant in China Grove, NC. 

Meals out for the England family can turn out to be very non-typical.  You see their son Riley suffers from epilepsy and is non-verbal.  This can make going out to eat, something most families take for granted, a frustrating experience at times.

Riley was hungry and was quickly losing patience with his mom’s phone when he couldn’t get Netflix to work.  At this point in Riley’s life, his parents were starting to get use to the stares from other customers.  The only way Riley can communicate his frustration is through screams and acting out.  That’s exactly what he started to do; throwing his mother’s phone and banging on the table.  But definitely not the worst public experience the family has endured. 

Of course they had gained the attention of some of the neighboring tables; that was nothing new either.  But it had been a rough month with Riley and Ashley was feeling pretty down and just wanted to pack up and leave.  She just wanted a nice, quiet meal with the family and she had noticed a few customers were acting a little irritated as they looked in her direction.

A few moments later a waitress walked up to their table with tears in her eyes.  She handed Ashley a note written on a guest check that read, “God only gives special children to special people.”  The author of the note had also paid for the England Family’s meal.  Ashley broke down in tears from this small, kind gesture given from an individual who didn’t even realize how much she needed it at that moment. 

photo of note: Source Ashley England

photo of note: Source Ashley England

We never know what has been going on in the lives of those we pass each day.  It doesn’t take a lot to show compassion or love to others.  In this case, the note itself would have been such a gift whether the meal had been paid for or not.  How many opportunities pass us each day?  How could we affect another’s day by simply being kind?  Let’s look for opportunities to brighten the day of another!

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.

31 days

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