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unusually kind behavior shown by restaurants

I was on the way to my favorite hoagie shop in Lansdale Pa a few years ago to pick up my usual two chicken parmesan dinners for my friend and I when I got rear-ended about a mile away and my car got totaled. The police were very kind and shuttled my little daschund and I home. All I could think of was that I had better cancel that order that I had called in. I was a bit shaken up so I got my friend to call. They don't do deliveries at Ray's Pizza but the owner insisted on driving to my house with our dinners after asking if I was okay and all. My friend tried to give him a tip when he paid for our dinners but the guy refused. I was so touched by the way this place went out of their way to be kind to us I was wondering if anyone else has experienced kindness and consideration that is Way beyond the usual?

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  1. I was sitting at the bar of a restaurant near my house, having drinks and snacks and watching a Yankee game. My wallet was on the bar - and then all of a sudden it wasn't. It was my first time there, so the restaurant had no reason to trust my mortified promises to come back the next day with money to settle the bill. Instead of throwing me out on my ear, the manager apologized profusely and insisted on continuing to serve me 'til the game was over. It made a lousy situation much easier to deal with. And a few days later, a homeless man showed up at my apartment with the wallet, which he'd found on the street. Manhattan is a really nice place, sometimes.

    1. I had traveled to Ohio for a January wedding and it started snowing like crazy on my way in late that night. I barely made it to my hotel. The next day the hotel parking lot had not been cleared, much of the region was at a level 3 snow emergency code. I had spotted a Denny's the night before. I put on almost every piece of clothing I had and trudged thigh deep in snow to their well lit building. I arrived and they had just locked the doors and were turning off the neon sign!

      Someone saw my look of despair and let me in. I explained my situation and asked if they still had any coffee & leftover toast I could bring back to my room. A cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice were brought to me immediately and I was offered a seat and asked to wait. Within 10 minutes four to-go boxes were brought out, stuffed with hash browns, scrambled eggs, assorted breakfast meats, slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, all varieties of toast, and condiments. And several enormous containers of hot coffee and more juice. I could barely carry it back to the hotel there was so much! They wouldn't take a penny.

      I'm sure these folks were more than ready to leave and make it home to their families safely. And the morning couldn't have been profitable for them - not a soul was on the road. But this very hungry traveler was incredibly grateful for the food (lasted me 2 days stranded there). But the generosity the staff showed to a stranger when their door was already locked was the greater gift!

      1. It is nice to see how kind people are. I was on the way to a funeral, college years, and forgot my wallet. It was snowing and I passed wrecked snow plows. I pulled in to a truck stop to call my mother. Pre cell phones. I told her I couldn't get there and had no money to buy food. Two truck drivers heard me on the phone and talked to her. They bought me lunch and one of them drove me back to the dorm.

        On the flip side: I became ill in a hotel restaurant and passed out. As I was loaded into the ambulance and my husband was climbing in with me, the manager came running up. Not to check if I were dying, he wanted the bill paid before the ambulance could leave.

        Friends told him to . . . .and they would take care of the bill.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Janet

          First time at Inn at Little Washington many years ago, Patrick asked if everything was all right. Told him my wife at the time and l always walked our dogs at night, and really missed them. Immediately his two beautiful dalmatians were at our disposal for a one hour walk. l will always remember the kindness

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            That story doesn't surprise me at all! When my husband and I stayed there the day after Christmas (my birthday) several years ago, an overnight storm dumped a good couple of feet of snow in the area. Anticipating an hour of digging out of their parking lot, we finished our breakfast and asked the person at the desk to prepare our bill because we'd be packing up and checking out momentarily. By the time we got back downstairs, not only was our bill ready, but we opened the front door and our car was in front, completely clean of snow, motor running and heater on. Aside from their amazing kitchen, The Inn at Little Washington has probably the best customer care anywhere in the US.

        2. This is a very nice post simply because we tend to overlook the many generous qualities displayed by restaurant owners and staff...During the year many restaurants participate in a variety of charitible events and contribute a great deal of time and money.
          In my area Westchester County, N.Y. there is a restaurateur by the name of Nick who runs a popular Italian eatery called Mamma Francesca. One day he asked if I could keep him company on a delivery. The next thing I know we are standing in the lobby of a large nursing home facility. He had brought big tins of food for some of the residents that day (a few had been frequent customers over the years)...no questions asked, no money involved. We even stayed to watch and converse as these folk truly enjoyed the memories and flavors he had brought...
          Years earlier I had come to know a popular restaurant owner in the Bronx, Joe Nina, who would donate a truck load of turkeys to a home and shelter in his area during Thanksgiving...
          The stories could go on and on...largely unheralded.

          1. Thanks for starting this post! How much more edifying this is than the typical whine-a-thon.

            GREAT stories so far, really great.

            Back in Minneapolis I used to cook at a homeless shelter with some regularity. Lots of restaurants and stores were very kind in donating food for meals. I find Minnesotans to be very kind and generous.

            1. When I was in college my family would meet in Vancouver, BC and drive up to Whistler for a week or so right around Christmas. Because of the flight/train schedules, I'd usually get there the night before my family and stay at my favorite hotel (Le Soleil) for a night. One year I happened to get up there on Christmas eve, later than expected because of some problem with the train. My family wouldn't be in until the next morning. By the time I'd arrived, the hotel restaurant and the other food places on the block had closed. I asked the hotel staff what might be open and they insisted on calling around to try to find me some place to eat. When they couldn't find anything open, the manager called his friend who agreed to go back into his restaurant a few blocks away and make me dinner to take back to the hotel. When I got back to the hotel after my dinner they had made me a cute little Christmas present of a mug filled with Christmas candies. Very nice of them.

              2 Replies
              1. re: akq

                WOw, that's awesome!! Which resto was it out of curiousity? (I''m in Vancouver)

                1. re: starlady

                  I am so embarassed to say that I really don't remember. I was so tired that night. I know it was an Italian resto and I think it was near the courthouse, but when I've gone back to find it, I haven't been able to remember (I always get turned around in Vancouver).

              2. For our first anniversary many years ago, my SO and I decided to go to a very lovely but expensive Bev Hills restaurant to celebrate the event (foodies even then). Since we were in grad school and had little excess, we saved for months. At the restaurant, we carefully ordered dinner and wine and throughly enjoyed the meal - and it exceeded the many months of anticipation.

                (You probably know where this is heading . . .!)

                The bill arrived and we had just - just enough to cover the meal (these were our early cash-only years). Somehow we had missed something (tax, meal tax? I don't remember). I thought we hid the OMG I'm going to be sick moment but . . . the waiter quickly came over and thanked us for dining with them - before we could offer some explanation or solution not yet planned. When my SO began show the waiter the folder and to say something, the waiter simply simply smiled , held up his hand, with the other took the folder, and offered congrats on our anniversary.

                Discrete and incrediably attentive service as well as excellent food. We ate there many times again when we could really afford it.

                It's probably a very small kindness - not making us feel embarassed. But I thought they were very kind to a gauche young couple way in over their heads.

                1. I remember once having dinner at La Greppia in Verona, Italy. La Greppia is a beautiful restaurant that's fairly pricey and absolutely requires reservations. My family had flown in from Canada to vist me in Turin, and we'd traveled by train to Verona on the Easter long weekend. Somewhere between Canada and Verona, my entire family got really sick with the flu, and I was about thisclose to suffering from depression caused by the stress of living and working overseas for the first time. Truly, we were just a pathetic bunch. We had dinner reservations for seven o' clock, and managed to pull ourselves together to get to the restaurant on time. Or so we thought. We actually showed up at 8:00, not realising that we were supposed to set our clocks ahead that morning. The hostess just smiled and said she'd held our table for us- there was not another empty table in the place. I'm not sure we would have been able to walk to another restaurant! Thank you hostess!

                  I actually have lots of great memories of dining in Italy. There was a pizzeria across from my apartment that was run by an Egyptian family, and they really took an active interest in my wellbeing and making sure I adjusted well to life in Italy. One of my Canadian friends still raves about how nice they were to her when she came to visit and we went over to pick up pizza. If you happen to be in Turin, the nicest pizzeria staff work on Via San Secondo, just south of Via Pastrengo on the east side of the street!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Jetgirly

                    This one reminds me of another one. Lived in suburbs of Philadelphia at the time and often came to NYC for dinner on Saturdays. Had reservation at Balthazar, as Saturday was short rib night. Got stuck in traffic hell at the Holland tunnel and called that we would be very late, please give our table away and we would make do when we got there. You know where this is going, arrived 90 minutes late, and our table was waiting, a sixtop on a holiday Saturday. They have my vote forever, in fact, told this story to a manager there at breakfast a few months ago, and he comped my breakfast. It just keeps getting better

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      It's nice to hear that story about Balthazar, since it tends to get a bit of a bad rap on the Manhattan board. Have you ever made those short ribs at home, by the way? It's one of my favorite recipes.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Recipe l use is sort of a combination of Grey Kunz's at Lespinasse, Baltharar's, Daniel's and Tracey DesJardins in SF. And yes, rarely order it out any more, as why should l

                  2. What wonderful stories to read! We haven't had anything really extraordinary, but small kindnesses that have made me feel good.

                    This April, we had a rough week (Mr CF tore his ACL, I had a fender bender causing my 3 1/2 month old car to be towed away, my mother was moving and I was the packer/unpacker and put-er-away-er, and one of our employees turned in her notice) and we were taking the weekend as a 'catching our breath and trying to relax'. My mother had dinner at a small restaurant in Noblesville - good food, marvelous cake - and told one of the owners, Vanetta, what had been going on. Vanetta packed up 2 huge slices of cake, gave them to my mother and told her to give them to us - she said we needed a bit of sweetness.

                    Mr CF and I were having a dinner in our home as a fund raiser for a local charity, it was being prepared by the Chef of one of Indianpolis's top restaurants. The night before one of our 'little' CF's had a run in with the local authorities and was spending the night where every parent hopes their little ones never go. I was, needless to say, a bit distraught. The next afternoon, the Chef called and because we had to make arrangements for servers, food and Chef-ness - I had to tell him that I didn't know what I was going to do about everything because I didn't know what time I was going to be able to get my son, etc... He said "I'm on my way, you don't worry about anything.". So he got there along with our 2 favorite waiters and they took over. Poured champagne for me, settled me down, laughed with me, went with me and Mr CF to pick up our son when he was released, got dinner prepped and chugging along. When our guest arrived, you would never know that anything was amiss. And the thing that amazed me, thrilled me and warmed my heart was when they fed my son. I'm not even sure why that was just over the top for me (maybe because he wasn't part of the fundraising dinner), but even thinking about it makes me kinda weepy. Goofy, I know.

                    1. From a former restaurant owner, Thanks for this thread. It's nice to see some good stories about owners, chefs, and staff.

                      1. During the aftermath of Ike there were a few restaurants that had power that were passing out free bags of ice to anyone who needed them, which was amazing, since it was very hard to even find any to buy. I thought that was incredibly kind.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: danhole

                          Mine is not a story of direct resto kindness, but of kindness all the same (it does involve a great dinner though!):

                          In the spring of 2005, the wife and I holidayed in Ireland. We had just barely made the last ferry to the Aran Islands. I checked in to the hostel we were staying at and presented my credit card with a flourish. The reception person laughed and told me that they didn't take credit cards (the satellite link they needed to process credit cards was operational only during regular business hours. I had 3 euros and change in my pocket. No problem - where is the nearest ATM, I asked. He laughed again and said there was one grocery store which housed the local ATM - and it was closed until morning. I was by then slightly panicked, since we had no money and no food. He loooked at me anf said he would loan me some money for food and that we could pay for the room and loan in the morning.

                          I was calculating what the cheapest thing we could buy to eat would be (loaf of bread and butter/cheese?) so that I would not have to borrow much when he returned with a 100 euros for me. As I stared at the cash, he told me where a nice restaurant in own was (the only restaurant) and that we should go and have a nice dinner/evening on the island. I still stared at the cash, and so he said again, go ahead, I know where to find you, and you're on an island - no way to get off it until the next ferry at noon tomorrow - by then I'll definitely find you!

                          So we did - great dinner with awesome fresh seafood from the bay. Saw him in the pub later that night and bought him a pint of Guinness. Withdrew cash the next morning and paid him back. He definitely made our night on the island a memorable one.

                          Maybe not the most impressive story, but I can't see that happening at a hotel/motel here. I love the Irish!

                        2. A few years ago we were visiting San Francisco and I dragged Mr GG halfway across town to a restaurant I wanted to visit. It was a bit off the beaten track and we were tired from all the walking and Mr GG was a bit grumpy when we arrived. The locals and waiter were a bit surprised to find a couple of British tourists in their restaurant but they couldn't have been nicer. When Mr GG told the waiter that he'd really been enjoying one of the local beers, the waiter insisted he try another one (Anchor Steam) and actually gave him a pint to try for free. Mr GG couldn't get over it and Anchor Steam remains one of his favourite beers to this day!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: greedygirl

                            My Dad is a Brit and Anchor Steam is the first beer he liked in N America :)

                          2. Went to a local diner for breakfast today with 3 adults and a 2 month old. We were seated in a C shaped booth. The waitress, the busboy and the supervisor waitress all came over to make sure we were comfortable, and did we want to try another configuration to accomodate the baby carrier. We were thankful but elected to stay as is kind of smooshed together. Easier to pass the midget around. As the young waitress went to serve one of us iced tea, she somehow tipped another iced tea and a coffee all over the table and the floor and the hot coffee partially on one of our legs. We all sort of squealed because we were surprised. Everything was quickly cleaned up. The owner or manager was right there comping the meal of the one who wore the coffee and joking her to change her order up to something special. Just the way it all played out flowed so naturally. Nobody was upset (except the young waitress who was so embarassed she left our section and her supervisor subbed in). Suggestions of combining or splitting meals to get us all our heart's desire was done so easily and thoughtfully without fanfare. I was really impressed.

                            1. This past Friday, it was my husband's Birthday and we had reservations for Dressler, in Brooklyn. To make a long story short, I had to change our reservation 3x AND was still late. The restaurant held our reservation on an insanely crowded night. The hostess, who knew I was running late and got lost in the neighborhood from talking to my husband, said she was glad I made it in tact. I casually mentioned how I'm always late on special occasions and it was my husband's birthday. She wished him a happy birthday, and took us to our table.

                              The server who never let on that he knew it was my husband's birthday, put a candle in his lemon tart and just said Happy Birthday. When we received our bill, we noticed that we were not charged for either of our deserts. Needless to say, what we would have spent on deserts went to the server and to the hostess.

                              1. I had just moved back to the SF bay area after a number of years away, and less than two weeks after the move, I found myself in the City when the 1989 Earthquake hit. At the time, I was living in the east bay, and had taken BART (subway) to the city, so when BART shut down, and with the bay bridge fallen down, I had no easy, obvious way to get home. I also had almost no cash, and due to the power outages, credit cards and ATM machines were basically useless...

                                anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up on Lombard Street in the Marina, which of course was exactly the wrong place to be...(the Marina was hit particularly hard with heavy damage)...despite the lack of power and damage, some businesses were open, including some bars and restaurants. But since I had no cash, I couldn't get anything to eat...we did go into a bar, mostly to use the facilities, but no money for a drink...and by nine pm or so I was getting pretty darn hungry....until (while basically wandering around aimlessly trying to figure out where the heck I was going to spend the night) I passed La Barca, a Mexican restaurant on Lombard: they had taken all of the food they had prepared for the evening, and had set up a buffet out on the sidewalk, and were urging any and all passersby to help themselves, no charge. They wouldn't even take money when people offered. Rice, beans, tortillas and tex-mex enchiladas never tasted so great!

                                As it turned out, shortly after eating I ate I spotted an East Bay (AC Transit) bus on Lombard Street, and since I knew it didn't belong in that part of town, waived it down: turns out the driver was heading for the Golden Gate bridge to get home the long way...and took me and a few other passengers along and right to our cars at BART parking lots in Oakland...so Lombard turned out to be a good place to be, after all.....

                                Anyway, I never forgot the practical kindness that La Barca ownership showed in not trying to make any money off of the calamity.....I sent them a thank you letter, but always felt a little guilty for not patronizing the place as a thank you (not in my part of town, and well, to put it kindly, the place isn't exactly known as a CH mecca...)..However, fast foward 15 years to October 17, 2004: the quake's 15th anniversary, and hubby and I happened by coincidence to be driving down Lombard on our way back from a party in Marin. We had already dined, but I saw the La Barca sign and told hubby we had to stop, at least for a drink in commemoration. Well, we walked in, and the bartender looked at us a bit oddly: I looked around, and realized that we were the oldest people in the place, by at least twenty if not thirty, years! Hubby commented that the only thing older than us in the place was the music (they were playing Rolling Stones at full volume): it seems that La Barca had become a twenties-something pick up spot (for all I know, it could have been in '89 also). So, hubby and I had a quick margarita and then left, after I said a quick thank you blessing to myself that, even though it wasn't my type of place, that the restaurant was still aparently thriving....

                                I probably (almost certainly) will never go back again, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for their kindness almost 19 years ago...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: susancinsf

                                  Awesome story.susancinsf And of course being a chowhound now I want mexican for a late lunch!