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Nov 12, 2011 09:49 AM

Doing Something Nice for Someone, Maybe Not

Some time back went to a leading restaurant in a leading city, where does not matter. It was on a Monday night when BYOB was encouraged not just permitted. Had brought too much beverage for the two of us as l generally do. Saw a gentleman eating by himself and had the waiter give him a glass of my superb and very old vintage port to make the experience more enjoyable for him, or so l thought. When we got our check sometime later we found he had paid for our dessert course which was a great surprise. We had had eye contact and then he came to the table to thank us very graciously for the wine and discussed the year and other tasting notes, we knew nothing about the dessert payment until we left. l thought this was very generous of him and considered the experience a great one. After talking to my GF about this she had an entirely different read. She felt that we put him in the uncomfortable position of forced reciprocity and l do not know which of us is correct, please weigh in and let me know who read the situation better.

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  1. I think only this man knows how he felt about it...

    1. Each is a plausible explanation for what transpired. Our interpretations of such things are generally guided by our personalities and belief structures. Without asking the man, you'll never know why he did what he did, but you can learn something about yourselves.

      1. Yes, you did something nice, which he obviously appreciated, and he returned the favor.

        Don't worry about it. :)

        1. I would say it depended on whether you may a big point about the fact that what you sent over was "my superb and very old vintage port." That may have prompted him to think he should pay for your dessert, or maybe he's just a nice guy who wanted to return the favor. Water under the bridge at this point.

          1. Sounds like, if he was uncomfortable, he hid it very well… But I do find it strange to send glasses of alcohol to strangers without asking them. I assume you saw him drinking already (otherwise, very unwise), but what if he was trying to stay under the legal limit, or just didn't like port?

            I think you did a nice thing and it was well-received (and very well reciprocated), but it's not something I would have done.