Valentine’s Day of 2019 was a special Valentine’s for us. This was our second Valentine’s Day as a couple and our first Valentine’s Day as a family, aside from when our son was in the womb, of course. As usual, we had made dinner plans for the evening, but we knew it might not be as easy as the year before. Now we had a ten month old tagging along with us everywhere we went. Still, I didn’t want to give up on my plans of attending a posh sushi bar downtown. People have babies all the time. That doesn’t stop them from living their lives, so we anxiously packed up the little one and headed downtown.
We walk into the foofy restaurant somewhat confidently until the hostess asks us if we have a reservation, and of course we don’t. The hostess assures us it’s no problem and puts us down on the list. We wheel our huge stroller back into the small waiting area and feel terrible for blocking so much of the entrance space. Eventually, we hear our name called and are escorted to the bar. The hostess asks if this space will work, and in effort to avoid causing any more trouble, we eagerly agree it’s fine.
She brings us a high chair to place in between our stools and we realize immediately there’s a problem. My son, Maxon, is about two feet lower than us and I know this is going to make it difficult to feed him. Maxon almost instantly senses the distance and starts whining. I try to entertain him with the menu, but he’s still upset. I start to get embarrassed as I look around at all the fine people trying to enjoy their dinner. Before I can even get my son out of his high chair, the hostess comes back and offers us an actual table. I figure this will solve the problem, so we happily take her up on the offer.
Sitting next to us is a young couple, maybe a few years older than us. They look so in love, and my anxiety quickly sets in as I anticipate the meltdown my son usually has at restaurants. The last thing I want to do is ruin this nice couple’s dinner.
As we’re looking at the menu, I realize there really aren’t very many things I can feed my son. Finally, we find a meal that includes grilled chicken and white rice and figure Maxon can pick at it. This should work. Crisis avoided. As for me, I look for the cheapest sushi roll on the menu. I always try to be frugal when we go out, because I know we having expenses coming up and we’re saving up for a house. After we finish ordering, the waitress attempts taking our menus, but Maxon refuses to let go of the menu we let him play with. The waitress assures us it’s fine and leaves behind the menu. Once the food arrives, Maxon is completely unimpressed with his meal. He begins throwing rice everywhere, and even a little soy sauce can’t get him to eat his meal. I’m embarrassed again, but we just focus on finishing our dinner as quickly as possible.
Still, even though I know my son is acting out, I refuse to give up on our Valentine’s dinner. I look at the dessert menu and find us an interesting dessert to try, because it is Valentine’s Day after all. If it were any other day, I usually avoid the dessert menu in an effort to save money, but this time we splurge and order the tempura ice cream. Finally, my son eats something, but of course it’s ice cream. You take what you can get, I guess.
When the time comes to ask for our bill, our waitress surprises us and tells us it’s already been covered. We’re absolutely astounded. Who would pay for a family with a whining baby? The lady points over to the couple sitting inches away from us, and we lean over and thank them sincerely. We really don’t know what to say at this point. They excitedly tell us they really felt the desire deep in their heart to pay for us, because they just found out they are expecting a baby soon. They said watching us eat dinner with our son really touched their heart and got them excited for their future as a family. We had a short conversation with them and wished them the best with their new journey as parents.
They left shortly afterwards, and we realized too late that we should have asked them for their number to keep up with them and stay in touch. They genuinely seemed like a nice couple, and we would have loved to have made parent friends. My husband quickly dashed out the door to see if he could find them in the parking lot, but it appeared they had already gone. Our last hope was to try to see if the waitress would be willing to tell us the name of the person on the card who paid, that is, if they even used a card. Fortunately, they did, and our waitress was more than happy to help us identify this mysterious couple.
In the age of technology, we thought finding this couple on social media would be an easy feat. But even for the most advanced Facebook stalker, this mission proved to be impossible. After searching Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, we found no trace of them. We were heartbroken, but have faith we will find them again one day.
So to that beautiful couple out there, thank you for restoring my faith in humanity and for reminding me to enjoy our outings with our little one, even if he is throwing a tantrum.