Okay, I’m going to confess – I love to go out to eat. Love it.

I mean, doesn’t it feel so decadent to have a whole menu of options in front of you to choose from? You can pick anything you want, and someone else will make it! Then someone brings it to your table along with a drink! They set it in front of you. Fill your glass if you need it. Clean up the mess after you’re done. Wash the dishes and you just get up and leave with a happy belly.

Goodness, they do everything I did three times a day for all of my kids when they were little and you can just sit there and enjoy it.

Now, I’m going to disappoint some of you, but Pizza Hut is my favorite pizza place, and when the kids were little, the one near us had a lunch buffet on weekdays.

Now, we didn’t go out much when the kids were little; we really couldn’t afford it. It was a huge treat when we did.

But, for years when the kids were little, that’s what I did on my birthday – I’d take the kids to the library, get a bunch of really great books, then the kids and I would go to Pizza Hut for the lunch buffet. Kids ten and under ate for free, and if we all got water, it only cost $6.10 (plus gas and tip) since all the kids ate free. It was a great birthday present (and cheap) because, while I still had to feed the kids, I didn’t have to cook it and someone else did the dishes! Super nice!

Then, I’d take the kids home, put them to bed and waste twenty minutes of nap time trying to decide which of the wonderful new books I should read first. (Anyone else, lol?)

Ah, man. Talk about a great day.

Anyway, not that long ago, Watson and the girls and I went out to eat after church on Sunday. Amherst is small, but it has a really great restaurant and that’s where we were.

Not long after we were seated, an older lady, beautifully dressed like maybe she’d just come from church, too, was seated at a booth a little distance away, directly in my line of sight.

I almost said to Watson, “Should we ask her to sit with us?” but we had just given our orders and she didn’t even have her drink. There also wasn’t a seat at our table. I probably would have anyway, but I know from experience that sometimes people take you up on it, and sometimes people act like you’re a serial killer and don’t want anything to do with you. That’s kind of embarrassing. (But the payoff can be worth it.)

While we ate, this lady sat by herself. She would occasionally look over at our table with a dreamy smile on her face, while she stared at my girls, like she was reliving memories or just enjoying teens and the things they talk about. (They’re never still, always laughing, a little loud and animated. You know how teen girls are!)

And me, I’m always daydreaming, and I sat there wondering about her. She had rings on her left hand…maybe her husband had died? Maybe he was bedridden at home and this was her little treat for herself (like my birthday Pizza Hut lunch buffet). Maybe it was her birthday! Where were her children? Her family? Why was she alone? She was nicely dressed, but she kept her purse close to her and just made me wonder if eating out was a huge splurge on an otherwise tight budget.

Finally, we finished and our waitress brought our check.

I took a hold of Watson’s arm and leaned over to him. “Let’s pay for her lunch.” Ha. We don’t do this all the time, but often enough that he knew exactly who I meant and I didn’t need to say anything more.

We had different waiters, so we did cause the wait staff a little stress as they figured things out. We hung out a bit, standing slowly, getting ready to leave and watched covertly as her waiter stopped at her table and told her that her check had been taken care of. We had specifically asked our waitress to not tell her waiter who was paying, nor did we want the lady to know.

So when she asked, “Who is paying for my meal?” we heard the waiter say, “I don’t know.” : )

She shook her head and blinked, then looked around, and I ducked my head, grabbed Watson’s hand and we left, following the girls. I glanced back as we turned the corner and there were tears on her cheeks. We walked out of the restaurant, smiling.

Man, is there anything in the world better than doing something nice for someone and they don’t even know it was you? lol