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To the Anonymous Restaurant Patron Who Didn’t Look At Us With Pity

My daughter, Annie, was born blind due to a congenital retinal disease called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA).

She’s an adventurous, fun-loving kid who loves exploring new things outside. In early November 2014, we were in Boston for a special event for kids with vision impairments at the New England Aquarium (sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Parents of the Visually Impaired).

After, I decided we should experience the city and walk the several blocks to the North End for lunch. We found a quiet, family-run, Italian restaurant (Pagliuca’s) and sat down for a great meal and wonderful service. When I asked for the bill, the waitress said “No bill, you’re all set.”

I protested, saying it was kind but unnecessary. A part of me was thinking, “We don’t need anyone’s pity! We are so far beyond that…”

She insisted. She said a regular, who would remain anonymous, had watched us walk into the restaurant — Annie with her cane — and he just wanted to do something nice for us.

I asked if I could buy the person a glass of wine or coffee as a thank you.

“No, he doesn’t drink either.”

As we approached the front door to leave, thanking almost everyone in sight, the same waitress came up and stuck something in my pocket and said, “He also wants you to buy something nice for her at Christmas.”

I thought to protest again but was overcome by the kindness. It was not pity at all — just someone who felt the need to do something nice at that moment. When we got outside, I found a $100 bill in my pocket.

This is a photo from the same day…

image1 (4)

We’ve pledged to pay it forward, in story and in-kind, so that my own kids and many others will know: there are good people out there. Choose to be one of them.

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