September 22, 2021
A handsome young man keeps bringing different elderly women to a fancy New York restaurant and the waitering staff thought he was exploiting them. The truth shocks them.
Jack Lawrence had been working at the Silver Spoon for a few weeks when he noticed the strange companions of one of their regular customers.
The customer, Daniel Darcy, was in his thirties, tall and handsome, but his dinner companions were all ladies in their seventies. Every Saturday night, there Darcy would be with an old woman in tow. Jack was quite sure he knew exactly what was going on...
One Saturday, he watched with disdain as Darcy walked in escorting a doddering old dear, gallantly taking her arm, pulling out her chair like a real gentleman. Jack watched with disgust as Darcy whispered something in the woman's ear.
She glanced up, blushed, and tilted up her snow-white head flirtatiously. Jack snorted. It was very clear to him exactly how Darcy paid for his impeccable Italian three-piece suits, and it wasn't out of his own pocket.
Jack thought Mr.Darcy was seducing old ladies for their money.
He took the 'couple' the menu and politely recited the chef's special proposals for the evening. "My dear," said Darcy with a smile. "You MUST try the sole. It's delicious!"
The woman, who up close looked even older, giggled like a girl. "Oh Daniel," she cried. "You spoil me!"
Darcy took her hand and kissed it. "Only because you deserve it, Mrs. Harris!" he said with a charming smile. He ordered champagne and proceeded to ask the delighted Mrs. Harris about her girlhood.
Throughout the dinner, Darcy continued to charm Mrs. Harris, and when the restaurant's band struck up a soulful waltz, he jumped to his feet. "My dear, would you do me the honor?" he asked with a dashing bow.
Darcy then proceeded to steer the frail Mrs. Harris carefully around the restaurant's tiny dance floor for several songs. Mrs. Harris was glowing and clearly besotted with the slimy gigolo, Jack thought.
Disgusting! Darcy was young enough to be the woman's grandson! Couldn't she see through him? He was either fleecing her for cash or conning her into some dubious investment!
Jack could see that Mrs. Harris was definitely well-off. She was well dressed and several authentic-looking rings sparkled on her gnarled, twisted fingers. Mrs. Harris had once been a beauty, Jack could see that.
He thought about Darcy kissing the old woman and he shuddered. Repulsive! He brought them the dessert cart and watched with a sneer as Darcy ordered profiteroles with a chocolate-rum sauce for the old woman.
"Oh, Daniel dear," the woman gasped. "I shouldn't!"
"Nonsense," Darcy said. "WIth your figure, you could eat desserts every night. You're perfect!"
Mrs. Harris smiled happily and started eating her profiteroles. Jack walked back to where one of his colleagues was taking a brief breather. "That man is disgusting!" Jack said. "I don't know how he can do it!"
"Do what?" asked Frank.
"Seduce those old ladies for money!" said Jack.
Frank looked at Jack sharply. "I hope it isn't Mr. Darcy you're talking about!" cried Frank sharply. "He's a great man."
"Right!" sneered Jack, "A great conman!"
Frank looked at Jack. "Daniel Darcy is one of the kindest, most decent men you're ever likely to meet, and you know nothing about him."
"And you do?" asked Jack.
"Yes," said Frank firmly, "I do. Mr. Darcy has been the director of an assisted living facility for retirees for the past five years, and since then he's been bringing a different lady for dinner every Saturday.
"You see, most of these women have outlived their husbands, and their children and grandchildren stick them in these homes and forget about them. I know because my grandmother is in that facility."
"Oh," Jack said. "I didn't know that!"
"Yes. I visit her every weekend, but most of the other residents hardly ever get any visitors, only the occasional phone call if they are lucky. So Mr. Darcy takes them out for dinner.
"He lets them know that they are treasured, that someone is interested in what they have to say, that someone values their company," Frank explained.
Jack was blushing. "I thought... Well, you know what I thought!"
Frank shook his head sadly. "You thought wrong. Mrs. Harris is one of my grandmother's friends and her daughter dropped her off three years ago, telling her it was just for a few weeks while she went on holiday.
"She never came back, and she never calls. The daughter doesn't care about Mrs. Harris, she's just waiting for her to die, so Mr. Darcy is giving her one more lovely memory before the end."
Jack was disgusted. "My mother passed away at 58, and I wish I could have had more time with her. Mr. Darcy is a saint!"
Jack was now thoroughly ashamed of himself, and when he went back to bring Darcy and Mrs. Harris their coffee, he was especially courteous. From then on, he made sure he was extra charming to Mr. Darcy's 'dates.'
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