Keri Marie Carlson is used to serving customers as a waitress at G.W. Carson’s, but two weeks ago, she was the one to receive an unexpected gift.
The East Haven, Conn. woman, who usually uses two hearing aids to listen to her diners, was walking a customer and his wife to a table at the back of the steaks-and-burgers restaurant in Branford April 10 when he asked if she was having trouble hearing them, the Guilford Atticus reported.
“On the way over he noticed that I was wearing one hearing aid,” Carlson told the paper. “I kept asking him to repeat himself, and he asked if it would help if I had two.”
Carlson let him know that she did usually have two hearing aids, but that one was currently broken, WTNH reported.
“I didn’t say I needed the money or anything,” Carlson recalled to the station. But after she had left the diner and his wife at their table with menus, he got up and walked over again.
“He just came in the back and said, ‘I’m not going to take no for an answer,’” Carlson told WTNH. “’I can’t let you go home like this.’”
The customer gave her $500 on the spot, she said.
“I tried to give him the money back, but he was like, ‘No — you deserve this,’” she added to the station. “I cried for a minute in his arms.”
The customer wanted to remain anonymous, though Carlson, who is raising her 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son alone, said he left his business card with her before he and his wife left the restauraunt, according to the Atticus. She let him and his wife know when she had her hearing aid fixed, she told the paper.
Her employer at the restaurant, Jim Kirtopoulos, was also so touched by the gesture that he said some proceeds from the business’ shirt sales will go to the American Society for Deaf Children, WTNH reported.
“It really was an amazing act by one of our customers,” he told the Atticus. “And it could not happen to anyone more deserving. She works hard, volunteers to help others, and is a joy to have at Carson’s.”