My wife and I went down to the Belvedere café at the oceanfront for lunch this past Sunday. The Belvedere’s a small place, popular with locals and tourists, with just enough booths and counter space to seat about thirty people.
It’s not uncommon for there to be a line to get into the Belvedere, especially on weekends. We don’t worry, though, because the line moves quickly as Brenda, who presides over the place, plays the Belvedere’s limited seating options as if they were pieces in one of those Chinese block puzzles where all the differently shaped pieces ultimately fit together perfectly. Brenda’s a whiz at getting people in and out.
Near the front of the wait line was a young man traveling alone. As he waited for a space to open at the counter, one of three attractive young ladies who had just been seated in a booth together before he arrived approached the young man and invited him to join them.
The rest of us in line—most of us older couples who go the Belevedere every Sunday—quietly applauded the girls’ generosity and the young man’s seeming good fortune.
The rest of us eventually found seats and fell into our own conversations. We did happen to notice, though, that the young man finished his lunch earlier than the girls and that when he stepped up to the cash register he paid for their meals as well as his own.
We older diners chuckled at the idea that chivalry is not dead and hoped that the young man might have gotten a few good telephone numbers in return for his generosity. But it turns out he didn’t tell the girls he’d paid for their meals. When they discovered what he’d done he’d already driven away.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Maybe some kind person will invite you to lunch today and you’ll pick up their tab.