Thomas Irvin finished his fries, Coke and kid-size burger at Joe's Cafe in Benson the week before last and asked the waitress for his check. After a few moments, the waitress told him not to worry about it, that the slim man sitting down the counter from Irvin had taken care of it. Surprised, Irvin asked why. A few days before, the waitress explained, a customer had forgotten her wallet. She ran home to get it, but in the meantime, a man sitting at a booth in the corner had paid for her. She returned and paid the bill of another diner. A few transactions later, Irvin's bill was paid, too.
Irvin left Joe's in a better mood than when he had arrived. He hadn't been having the best day before that. He posted on Facebook about his experience in the small cafe with orange booths, paneled walls painted red and a long, old-fashioned lunch counter, and resolved to return and buy a stranger's meal.