Everyday Angels

A stranger picks-up the tab for barbecue to brighten a sad day

Everyday Angel story photo.
Everyday Angel story photo.

A couple of months ago, two friends – Pat Studdert and Sarah Hinson – and I traveled to Salisbury to attend the funeral of Don Burton, Jr., the son of our long-time friend. The three of us are former Eastern Airlines flight attendants, as was our other friend – Jeanne Burton, Don’s mother. We’ve remained friends long since our flying careers were over.

Following the service, we joined family members for lunch at the College Barbecue. As we were arriving, a tall, friendly gentleman – in a very bright shirt – was leaving. He was parked next to the restaurant door, and our entering prevented him from getting in his truck and backing out. He and two friends engaged in brief banter as we sidestepped each other. We bade him farewell and went inside. No mention was made of the reason for out get-together.

We sat at the back of the restaurant and took note when “Bright Shirt” returned, spoke with the cashier and left. Our waitress happily informed us the stranger had left a $100 bill to pay for our lunch. She didn’t know him as a regular customer, nor did the manager. To say the least, his act of kindness lifted the spirits of all of us on a day of sadness.

Our heartfelt thanks to this colorful angel who so graciously and generously paid it forward.

Ruby Sparks, Charlotte (As told to Page Leggett)

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Did a stranger step in to offer you help out of the blue? Email rwilkerson@charlotteobserver.com. Include name, hometown and daytime number. Or mail Everyday Angels, Charlotte Observer, 600 S. Tryon, Charlotte, NC 28230. Roland Wilkerson