A few weeks ago, while he was eating at a diner in Canada, Robert Erb began chatting with the owner, Cliff Luther. As far as diner owner/patron talk goes, Luther and Erb's conversation touched upon some heavier fare. The men talked about the legalization of marijuana (Erb's a pot activist), and Luther confided in Erb that his 25-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed with cancer. As it turned out, the heartbreaking topic was something that was near and dear to Erb. He had lost his son to cancer four years prior. "He was emotional about it, just as any parent would be in that kind of situation," Erb said. "He was just looking to talk and learn about things from another perspective."
After he was done with his meal and the conversation had run its course, Erb got up and left. But he returned a few days later -- and left Cliff Luther a $10,000 tip.
In between the time Erb first went to the diner and the time he returned, he won the lottery. And after their conversation, he decided he wanted to help out Luther any way he could, so he wrote a check for 10 grand and told Luther to take his bill out of that. According to Luther, "He just kind of said, 'If you need to [visit your daughter] quickly, this will help you.'"
All this from a conversation. If this doesn't show that being nice pays (quite literally sometimes), I don't know what does. Luther clearly touched Erb's life in some way, and Erb wanted to return the favor. The fact that both men took the time to get to know each other a little, instead of just rushing through things or burying their heads in their iPhones, says so much. Human contact is priceless.
It was incredibly generous of Erb to return to the diner where he had one conversation with Luther. Obviously. But there needs to be more people like him in this world -- not people who randomly write checks out to people, but people who stop and listen.
I hope to be able to do something like this someday for someone. But until that time comes, I think I'll try something on a smaller scale. Like listening. And just being nice. It may not help someone out financially. But I'm guessing it'll do something.
What do you think of this?
Image via Dustin Moore/Flickr