Monday, September 13, 2010

Strange stranger encounter

Have you ever experienced a total stranger paying for your meal in a restaurant or eatery? I just did last week. A friend in the church, whom I usually invite for a dinner treat after a prayer meeting, had her spiritual birthday last, last Tuesday. After the meeting, I want to treat her again. I have cooked Norwegian salmon at home already before I went to church but it’s just good for feeding one mouth only. That time, I have three mouths to feed – myself, hers, and my mom’s maid who just arrived at home because I borrowed her for a week from my mom to help me clean my house.

And then I realized, I only had 100 bucks and some loose change in my wallet. I left the rest of my cash at home and the nearest ATM from where we were standing that time was quite a walk. I told my friend that I only had 100 bucks and we would just eat at a cheap eatery or carinderia nearby and that she’d just have to add some more money if it’s not enough to feed the three of us. She said she didn’t have much cash too that time because she hadn’t withdrawn any cash from her ATM yet, she only had enough cash for commuting to her house. I wasn’t confident that my 100 bucks can feed the three of us because when hubby and I ate there, the bill was 100 bucks more or less. I have one more mouth to feed, not to mention that we’re all hungry that time, but even though we were worrying, off we went to the eatery.

We were looking at the viands and my friend opted for a veggie viand because it was cheaper, and decided she’ll just have service water instead of softdrinks or any soda. We had some good conversation, a few laughs, though it wasn’t a fancy place at all. After a few minutes, I decided to get the bill and pay. The waitress told us a man paid for our meals already. We didn’t believe her at first, but she insisted that someone paid for us already. My first reaction, that’s scary… My friend said, no, that’s blessing. When I learned that the man already left even before we can finish our meals, I relaxed. I don’t know exactly why I was scared at the thought of someone paying for our food, but I did. My friend was so intrigued by what had happened that she interviewed the waitresses and the cashier. The cashier told her maybe he liked your companion, that’s me. Yaiks, it’s one of those places where you really don’t need someone’s attention. Apparently, the one who paid for our meals is the manager of the whole place, their eatery, food kiosks nearby and the grill house at the upper floor. My friend told the cashier to tell the man, if he ever ask about us, that I’m already married. But I doubted that the man really paid for us because he got interested in me, it was just the opinion of the cashier. First, he didn’t approach us while we were eating, he didn’t bother to introduce himself. We didn’t even notice that he was also eating at the next table just like what the cashier said. My friend remembered that a guy was sitting at the next table but she can’t even remember his face. Second, he didn’t even wait for us to thank him, he just left; he didn’t even leave a message to the cashier in case we ask about him. In short, he didn’t want to really make himself known to us, so I figured, it was just really an act of generosity on his part, not a way to impress us.

When I told all of these to hubby, he was quite irked. He thinks the man still has an ulterior motive. He said I should have paid though the man paid for our meals already and should have requested the cashier to give back the money to him. I haven’t thought of that because I really don’t think the man was interested in me, or with my friend or with my mom’s 54-year-old maid, hehe. Hubby said maybe the man was hoping he could see us again in that eatery since he is the manager of the whole place and then when we see him, we would feel indebted. Honestly, if you ask me, I don’t feel indebted to the man, I just feel thankful, but more thankful to God for what had happened. I don’t know if that man overheard us when I said I hope our money’s enough, but my friend said my voice was lowered that time, and I know I did, because I didn’t want the waitresses to hear me, hehe, they might not serve us clean food if they learned a customer may not be able to pay later on, hehe. Whether he heard us or not, I consider it the work of God. I rarely bring just enough cash or just 100 bucks in my wallet, but this had to happen so God can show me once again, that He is a provider and that He works in ways, even in unexpected, mysterious ways, we cannot see.

Anyway, here’s my message to the man, a stranger we never knew existed:

If that was an act of sheer generosity on your part, thank you very much. I hope you told us so we could have ordered more, hehe, just kidding. Thank you because you allowed God to use you for our sake. Rest assured that He’ll give you more than the 100 bucks or more that you paid for us.

If you did it with ulterior motive, thank you but your strategy didn’t work on us! On me, on my friend or even with our 54-year-old hot helper, hehe! Try to do better next time, try to approach us, so you’ll know you don’t have to pay for someone who’s not interested. And we don’t credit anything to you at all, we credit everything to our Great Provider!

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