logo
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Single Mom of Two Can’t Pay For Kids’ Burger, ‘Your Bill Has Already Been Paid’ She Hears — Story of the Day

Preeti Pillai
Aug 23, 2022
12:55 P.M.
Share this pen
FacebookFacebookTwitterTwitterLinkedInLinkedInEmailEmail

When Sylvia realized she didn't have any money to pay for her children's meals, a kind stranger inspired her to do something unexpected, which resulted in something incredible.

Advertisement

Sylvia may have been poor, but almost nothing could shake her belief that she would overcome it and live a prosperous life.

But one fateful day, that belief was being challenged like never before.

“How am I going to survive this?”

Sylvia was living from paycheck to paycheck, working round the clock and raising two little kids, 10-year-old Sasha and 8-year-old Nina. On any other day, Sylvia would have been in an uplifting mood, cruising through every errand of her busy day.

She would not be in the best of clothes, but one look at her smile from across the street would put a smile on your face, too. From the eagerness in her voice and her stride, it was difficult to remember that she was struggling to make ends meet.

Advertisement

That is just how she was raised by her grandmother. Sylvia always kept her words close to her heart.

“Never worry about money. It is always around and will come to you soon enough. You focus on doing good and doing it well.”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

However, there came a day when those words did not offer any relief to Sylvia’s heart. She was in the car, driving her children to their favorite burger place to have an after-school snack.

This was a weekly ritual for the mother and kids. The trio would listen to the radio and sing along in their loud, happy voices. Sylvia would ask them riddles, and the children always came up with the funniest, smartest answers.

The singing and laughter would go on right until they reached the restaurant. However, on that specific day, the car ride felt dull and painfully slow.

Sasha and Nina were busy singing to the radio, but Sylvia was battling questions in her head.

Advertisement

'How am I going to pay next month’s rent?'

'Where will I find the money to pay for Sasha’s piano class and Nina’s new uniform?'

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

The worries just wouldn’t stop. Sylvia didn’t realize when they had reached the restaurant and picked a table.

“What do you want to eat, Mama? We’re going to have the fried chicken burger.”

Sylvia saw her beautiful daughters summon a waitress and give the order.

8-year-old Nina said, “And of course, don’t forget the curly fries. Our Mama loves them.”

Sylvia did not have the heart to tell the children that she had been fired that day. The hospital where she worked was under new management, and they had laid off half the staff. Unfortunately, Sylvia was one of the many low-level employees that the hospital let go.

Advertisement

She watched as the kids enjoyed every bite of the meal and made letters with the curly fries.

'This is probably the last time they will enjoy their favorite burger here,' she thought.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

A lot had been riding on Sylvia’s job. She was even told that she was soon up for a promotion as an assistant superintendent of staff. But the entire world of possibilities had shut down in one single day. For the first time, Sylvia didn’t know what to do.

When the waitress brought the bill, Sylvia reached in her wallet to pay. That moment, it hit her. She did not have any money to pay the bill. There was no cash in the wallet, and the only card she had was a company card that had been deactivated that afternoon.

Sylvia’s nervousness was worrying the children. "Is everything alright, Mama?" Sasha asked.

Sylvia nodded and got up to walk to the waitress and explain her situation. She wondered what the penalty would be. She would be ready to face any consequences, but she did not want her children to know any of this.

Advertisement

Just as she turned to get up, she heard someone call out, "Hey!"

"Your bill has already been paid."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

She looked in the direction of the voice and saw a man nodding at her, smiling. He was dining with two little boys. Sylvia was confused because she had never seen him before. But in the brief seconds that their eyes met, Sylvia could sense that the man had been observing her and had shown a gesture of kindness.

She walked up to the man, who introduced himself as Matthew, the owner of a small neighborhood garage.

“You don’t have to thank me. It looked like you were having a bad day; I know how that can feel like, and this is the least I could do.”

Sylvia and her kids thanked Matthew and left the restaurant. As Sylvia drove, she suddenly remembered the real meaning of her grandmother’s lesson:

Advertisement

"You won’t always have a big balance in your bank account. Sometimes, it may be the opposite. Sometimes, you may struggle to pay for bread. On those days, remember: Pay forward, and it will come back to you."

"Repeat after me: Pay forward, and it will come back to you.”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

The man at the restaurant had paid forward, and that was going to bring him well-being. And now, it was Sylvia’s turn to pay forward.

In the next few hours, this new clarity helped her look at all her problems and financial commitments in a new light. She made a few phone calls and happened to find an old friend who could give her a temporary job.

She spoke to her owner and said that she would only be able to pay half her rent next month, and offered to handle the owner’s laundry and dishes to make up for the rest.

She made some calculations, and figured that she could manage to buy Nina’s uniform, but not pay for Sasha’s piano lessons. She sat down with Sasha and told her about the situation, knowing that Sasha would understand.

Advertisement

Sasha was happy to adjust and practice the piano with a friend for a month.

And finally, Sylvia opened the little box of cash and change that she kept in the kitchen, took $40 from it, and put it in her purse. She did not have much left, but she knew exactly what she was going to do with that money.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

When you get, give.

The next day, she went to the restaurant and paid the money at the counter without ordering anything.

“This is for the next person who needs to pay. Tell them their bill is paid.”

There was a deep sense of satisfaction and happiness in performing this simple act of kindness. She was paying forward.

A week later, Sylvia went to the restaurant with Sasha and Nina again, and the staff greeted her in an unexpected way.

The moment Sylvia walked in, the waitresses and manager gathered around and applauded her. Some of the customers whispered amongst themselves and joined in.

Advertisement

“What is happening, Mama?” Nina asked excitedly.

One of the waitresses replied, “Ma’am. You don’t know this, but when you came here last week and paid for the next table, the customers took notice. They were so moved by it, that they followed suit. Each customer paid forward for the next table.

The waitress pointed at a board put up by the counter, that read: Number of kind customers who paid forward: 88

Sylvia was speechless. She couldn’t believe that something she did had led to such a great movement.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

Sasha and Nina had already run to their favorite table. After Sylvia gave their favorite order, the same waitress smiled and said, “Sure, I’ll bring that right away. And of course, your bill has already been paid.”

Over the next few weeks, the restaurant became famous on the internet. The videos of customers and their testimonials went viral. The place came to be known as the cafe with the “Kindest Customers in the World.”

And surely enough, Sylvia’s grandmother was right. Sylvia had paid forward, and like clockwork, the universe paid her back. She landed a brilliant opportunity to work as an assistant staff manager at a newly opened private clinic.

Advertisement

What can we learn from this story?

  • When you get, give. Sylvia was fortunate to be on the receiving end of Matthew's kindness, and she decided to do the same for another stranger. As soon as she chose to pay forward, it helped her see a clear way out of all her challenges while inspiring others to become kinder people.
  • Be kind; you never know who might need it. None of the wonderful things would have happened to Sylvia or the many strangers visiting the restaurant if Matthew hadn't observed Sylvia and offered his timely help. A small act of kindness touches more lives than one can imagine.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

Advertisement

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about another kind woman who buys a meal for a poor boy, but the impact of her kindness changes the lives of the boy's entire family.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

Advertisement
info
Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Advertisement
Related posts

Mom Gives Cart Full of Groceries to Older Man, Days Later Gets $35K for Son’s Treatment in Return — Story of the Day

July 05, 2022

Grandpa Digs in Yard and Finds Baby Chest Untouched for 46 Years — Story of the Day

June 05, 2022

Woman Gives All Her Savings to Homeless Man, Later Gets a $2M Mansion in Return — Story of the Day

April 21, 2022

Elite Restaurant Visitors Mock Disabled Old Lady, in the Middle of Dinner Owner Shouts Her Name — Story of the Day

July 07, 2022