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Huckleberries Online

Widower’s kind deed goes viral

When a recently-widowed Canadian man dining alone picked up the tab for a couple sitting nearby last week, he never expected his act of kindness to go viral.

But someone snapped a picture of the sweet note he left explaining why he'd taken care of the bill, and when the photo made its way to Reddit, it quickly spread, touching people around the world.

Lee Ballantyne, 65, of Barrie, Ontario lost his wife, Carol on December 30th. He was eating by himself at local restaurant Cicco’s when seeing the couple next to him reminded him of his late wife, which inspired his spontaneous act of generosity.

“I just wanted to write what I felt at the time so I scrawled it on a napkin,” Ballantyne told

“You don’t know me, but my beautiful wife of 43 years died last week,” read his handwritten note. “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.”

Ballantyne handed the note to the waitress and asked her to put the couple’s bill on his credit card before leaving. The waitress asked Cicco’s owner Lindsay Weiss to help her present the unexpected gesture to the diners.

Weiss said the reaction was emotional for everyone. “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 Full story

Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindess? Did you pay it forward?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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