A recently widowed man’s act of kindness has gone viral.
Lee Ballantyne, 65, lost his wife, Carol, on Dec. 30. He was eating by himself at a Cicco’s restaurant in Barrie, Ontario when a couple next to him reminded him of his time with his late wife.
That’s when he was inspired to leave the couple a thoughtful note and to make a kind gesture.
“You don’t know me, but my beautiful wife of 43 years died last week,” Ballantyne’s handwritten note read. “Tonight I dined alone for the first time. You remind me of us many years ago. Please allow me to buy your dinner. It will put a smile on Carol’s face and make me happy… for now.”
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Ballantyne handed the note to the waitress and asked her to put the couple’s bill on his credit card before leaving.
“I just wanted to write what I felt at the time so I scrawled it on a napkin,” Ballantyne told TODAY.com.
Lindsay Weiss, owner of the Cicco restaurant, helped the waitress present the 'gift' to the unsuspecting couple.
“They [the couple] were beyond touched and grateful. I cried. The waitress and chef cried. It was one of the kindest gestures I’ve ever witnessed,” Weiss told TODAY.com.
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Ballantyne was surprised to receive a phone call later that evening from the dining couple. They thanked him for the meal, expressed their condolences and asked to take Ballantyne out to dinner in the near future.
Since then, a picture of the note has made its way to Reddit, thanks to several of Cicco’s staff members who posted it on social media. Ballantyne’s note has been viewed over 800,000 times online by people moved by the gesture.
“My wife’s strength and joy of life is now known to millions of people just because of that gesture so I accomplished something there. I’m glad people to got to know a little about Carol,” Ballantyne said.
Carol was 62 when she died from lung cancer.
Sources: TODAY.com, Reddit