Birthday cake with happy birthday banner

The Greatest Gift of All

A few years back, I had spent weeks trying to figure out what to get my friend for her birthday, but nothing was coming to mind. Until one day I came across an ad for a soon-to be released blockbuster starring her all-time favourite actor. I knew this was it! Feeling adventurous, I decided to take a chance and entered the ticket lottery for the premiere at our local theatre. As luck would have it, two days later I received an email saying we had been selected for the premiere night!


As part of her birthday gift, I decided I would treat her to dinner before the show. With it being a celebration, we decided to spare no expense and ordered to our hearts’ content. Showtime was nearing so we asked our waitress for the bill, but to our surprise, with a smile on her face, she said, “You’re all set, no bill for you ladies today. Someone has already paid for your meal!”


Confused, we looked at her and questioned if she had the right table. She insisted that everything was taken care of and that we were good to go. We began to glance around the restaurant to see if someone we knew happened to be there and picked up the tab –  no one to be seen. My friend called her husband to see if he had maybe contacted the restaurant to pay – he swore it wasn’t him. We asked the waitress again if she could tell us who it was, but the most she would share was that it was someone in the restaurant and that they wanted to remain anonymous.


We couldn’t believe what had just happened – a stranger, not seeking recognition or thanks, treated us to an extravagant dinner. He or she will never know that the gratitude and joy we felt that evening was palpable. Inspired by this generous Act of Kindness, we vowed to pay it forward. We asked our waitress for a meal to go (this time paying ourselves), and brought it to a homeless man on our way to the show. His reaction brought even more warmth to our already glowing hearts.


To this day, we don’t know who it was. But my friend and I still talk about how that night has stayed with us as a reminder of what being on the receiving and giving ends of Kindness feels like. What started with me searching for the perfect gift for a friend ended with both of us receiving the greatest gift of all, a sincere Act of Kindness and generosity.

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