Make a Special Night Even Better
--by ssn585, posted Feb 27, 2007
One of my favorite anonymous acts is to pay for meals in a restaurant. A few years ago I was at a Ruth's Chris restaurant with my project team for a team Christmas dinner. Where I was sitting, my view of the other dinners was via a mirror in front of me. It was a Wednesday night about 3 weeks before Christmas so there were only about 6 other table occupied.
About 10 minutes before we left, a young couple came in dressed pretty formally. I happened to look in the mirror just as the woman looked at the menu. I saw her lean over to her date and whisper "It's so expensive!".
I usually pick a table that's already eating their dinners so I can get their check from the restaurant. As we left I asked the host to get the manager. I told him I wanted to pay for their dinner, but didn't know what it would cost. We figured that the high average meal per person was $50 including taxes, so I gave him $140 and told him to give the waiter whatever was left as a Christmas tip. The manager said he'd cover anything over $100 and give the waiter $40. We agreed that he would tell the couple after we left that someone had paid for their meal. I wanted them to order whatever they wanted without holding back due to the cost.
As we left the restaurant there was a limousine parked out front. Based on who was left in the restaurant, I suspected it was for the young couple. I walked over and asked the driver if he had brought the young couple to the restaurant. He said no, but he was picking them up after the dinner. The young man had arranged it, as he was going to propose that night.
I do this several times a year, but I really would have liked to see the reactions to this one!