'I was overwhelmed': Stranger's random act of kindness comforts grieving woman
Micki Koch Glenn and her mother Carolyn Koch were best friends.
They did everything together. They hiked, dove and backpacked together. When they weren’t off adventuring somewhere, they enjoyed eating together. One of their favorite places was TGI Friday’s in Destin.
“I used to live in Destin and we would eat there frequently, usually in the same booth,” said Glenn, who now lives in DeFuniak Springs.
Unfortunately, Glenn’s mother passed away four years ago after suffering from osteomyelitis, a rare bone infection that caused Koch to have multiple spinal fractures.
Glenn spent the past four years mostly remembering her mother being sick, in pain and laid up in a hospital bed in their living room up until she died.
That all changed last Wednesday after a bittersweet moment in the booth at TGI Friday’s and a random act of kindness from a perfect stranger.
Glenn, a photographer, had been in Destin that morning dropping off photo disks to clients when she drove past TGI Friday’s and, having fond memories with her mother there, decided to stop and have lunch
She asked to sit in the booth she and her mother used to sit in and, when she sat down, she immediately began feeling nostalgic.
“I started trying to picture her,” she said. “She was very, very ill towards the end. … It’s been really hard for me to picture her happy and healthy and laughing since she died. So I was sitting there just trying to picture my mom when she was laughing and trying to imagine her across from me.”
To help better imagine her mom, Glenn ordered a mojito, her mother’s favorite drink, and placed it across from her on the table.
“I started to feel emotional about it and tears started to stream down my cheeks and I was kind of quietly crying in the booth,” she said. “I reached out with my wine glass and toasted her glass.”
Glenn said she had noticed only one other person in the restaurant at that time, a gentleman who was sitting alone a few booths over. She and the gentleman never spoke, and Glenn said she didn’t pay much attention to him as she was busy reminiscing about her mother.
However, when she received the bill for her salad, glass of wine and mojito, Glenn was shocked.
The bill had been paid for, and a note was written on it: "Merry Christmas! Always smile when you remember who you miss!” The server told her the man from the booth had paid it.
“I was overwhelmed,” she said. “Even though I was crying, it was a happy moment because I was able to picture my mother happy and laughing, like she used to be, for the first time. So when the waiter brought the check and it had been paid for and there was that note, I was just overwhelmed.”
She said the gentleman was gone by the time she got the bill, and she never got the chance to see who he was or thank him. Glenn said the gift he gave her was more than just a free meal.
“I think what it’s done for me is that I’m going to be more observant,” she said. “This is going to be a difficult time of year for a lot of people whose loved ones died right around the holiday. I’m going to try to be more sensitive to people around me, try and pick up on stuff like that and pay it forward, because it really just made my day.”