Providing great service with a smile is something that waitress Keri Marie Carlson always strives to do when working at her job at GW Carson’s Restaurant in the coastal town of Branford, Connecticut. Her boss describes her as a hard worker and “a joy to have at Carson’s.”
She had no idea when she was showing a customer and his wife to their table on April 10th that he would be leaving her in tears. What happened next is something that has not only changed her life, it’s gone on to touch the lives of those around her.
10. Waitress, Single Mom, Volunteer
Keri is a single mom of two kids, an 8-year-old daughter, and 6-year-old son. When she’s not working as a waitress at GW Carson’s Restaurant, she enjoys donating her time as a volunteer princess for the organization CT Princess Parties LLC where she arrives as a princess at parties held for children with special needs.
9. Could You Repeat That?
One night at work, as Keri greeted a customer and showed him to his table, he observed that she was having a hard time hearing him. “On the way over he noticed that I was wearing one hearing aid,” Keri said. “I kept asking him to repeat himself, and he asked if it would help if I had two.”
8. Surprise Of Her Life
Keri explained to him that she usually did have two hearing aids but that one was broken and in need of repair. Without it, she couldn’t hear on that side. She seated the customer and his wife and walked toward the back of the restaurant. What happened next took Keri completely by surprise.
7. The Unexpected Happens
“I didn’t say I needed the money or anything like that,” Keri later explained. “He came into the back, and called me over and said ‘I want to give you something, but I’m not going to take no for an answer…’ I was shaking, and told him no.”
6. I’m Not Taking No For An Answer
The customer, however, had more to say. “I know you’re a good person, I know you work hard, and I want to give this to you. Here is $500 and I’m not going to take no for an answer.” Shocked, Keri said she tried to give him back the money.
5. I Cried In His Arms
Keri says that the customer told her, “No, you deserve this,” and to use the money to either repair or replace the hearing aid that was broken. Keri said she was so completely stunned, “I cried for like a minute in his arms. I cried in his wife’s arms.”
4. An Amazing Act
Keri’s employer at the restaurant, Jim Kirtopoulos, said “It could not happen to anyone more deserving. She works hard, volunteers to help others, and is a joy to have at Carson’s. It really was an amazing act by one of our customers.” That act inspired what happened next.
3. One Good Deed Deserves Another
“That’s what it’s like to live on the shoreline. There are so many kind, giving people here and it just made me happy to feel like there’s somebody in our community who would do that for somebody else,” one of Keri’s co-workers told a local news station. The story only gets better from here.
2. Pay It Forward
The owner of the restaurant where Keri works was so impressed by the customer’s act of kindness that he decided to pay it forward. He surprised Keri by telling her he would donate a portion of the restaurant’s t-shirt sales to the American Society for Deaf Children.
1. I’m Still In Shock
Keri said that the couple wasn’t even seated at one of her tables, she was just walking them back for a co-worker. “I was in shock, I’m still in shock,” Keri told a local news station of the generous gift. “It was completely out of the blue. It’s not something that happens every day.”
Keri says that although she knows the identity of her out-of-state customer, who left her his business card before leaving the restaurant, she is respecting his wish to remain anonymous. She called him a few days later to let him and his wife know that her hearing aid had indeed been repaired. Still, she wants to let the world know what his act of kindness meant to her, and how it inspired others to pay it forward.
“I just want to thank you from the bottom of my humble heart for giving me such a gift,” Keri said.