A group of soldiers walked into Paul’s Family Restaurant for lunch, and the other customers in there took notice. What happened next shows just how this community acts towards members of the military. Yet, the real surprise came from the service members themselves just as they were leaving.
A small place with a tight-knit crew of staff, Paul’s Family Restaurant is not distinct for any reason that diners are usually known for. They haven’t appeared on any of the “traveling foodie” shows that dominate the airwaves. They don’t have a nationally-known signature dish. Though, it is a place where you can get a delectable assortment of fried food on a single plate.
In this way, Paul’s is just your average American diner in your average American city. But thanks to the actions of a group of customers, it shows that the “average American” diner patrons are exactly what makes our national community so wonderful.
A group of four U.S. Armed Forces service members came to Paul’s for a late lunch. They were dressed in their camouflage combat uniforms, and quietly took their seats. However, their arrival didn’t go unnoticed.
As a fellow customer wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page:
“A family of six that came in right behind them pulled their waitress aside and said they wanted to buy them their lunch. Moments later another lady came to pick up an order to go and wanted to do the same. She said her son just started boot camp at Fort Benning [in Georgia] this week and she misses him so much she really wanted to buy them lunch as well. Since they hadn’t even ordered yet I suggested that they each put $20 towards their bill and Paul’s would pick up the difference. In the meantime TWO MORE groups asked to pick up their check!”
While all these people surreptitiously worked with the wait staff to buy these troops lunch, another man walking out of the restaurant put a $50-bill on their table, thanking them for their service.
There is no question that by the time these service members were ready to leave, they had actually made money thanks to the generosity of the other diners.
As they left, the owner stopped the group to thank them for their visit and asked if they had left a tip for their server. Since they didn’t have to pay any money for their meal, the owner was going to cover the server’s tip for them.
However, the service members told the owner that they “left something” on the table. Smiling, the owner wished them a great rest of their day, then went to the table to clean up for the next customers – but ended up shocked at what he found.
The troops had left the entire $50-bill on the table for the server, instead of using it for their next time going out for lunch as the server suggested. The owner called that move a “class act.” The service members, who like most veterans never ask for this sort of attention, nonetheless appreciated the generosity of their fellow diners and chose to pay it forward.
It sounds like at Paul’s Family Restaurant, there’s more than just great food – there’s also a lot of heart.