A couple spoke with their waitress for a moment during dinner but didn’t think too much about it until she slipped them a handwritten note. It wasn’t until they left the restaurant that they unfolded the letter — and realized they had to act immediately.
Carlos Sepeda Jr. and his wife Tammy found themselves living a nightmare. Forced to flee their home and leave everything behind, surely that was weighing on their mind when they stopped at a Texas restaurant for something to eat. The couple had just recently left their Houston home in a hurry, making their way to Tammy’s mother’s house as quickly as they could.
Knowing the stress Carlos and Tammy were facing, Tammy’s mom took them out for some comfort food at Sam’s Restaurant in Fairfield, Texas. That decision would make an impact, not just on the couple but on the world after they took a table in Mary Gough’s section. Although they didn’t know each other, they would soon be so thankful their paths crossed when they did.
As they sat down to eat, the reason Carlos and Tammy were in the area came up in conversation. The couple had just lost everything as they sat helplessly in the restaurant, trying to come to terms with their new reality. You see, this was during the days following Hurricane Harvey. It hit Texas hard, dropping an astounding 40 inches of rain on the greater Houston area in 4 short days.
The record-breaking rainfall caused catastrophic flooding, forcing thousands to flee their homes, including Carlos Sepeda Jr., his wife Tammy, and their family. After putting their belongings up on tables, beds, and anywhere else they could to try to get them off the ground, the Houston family headed north, driving a couple of hours to Tammy’s mom’s house to escape the storm.
Unfortunately, all of the precautions they took weren’t enough. Flood waters engulfed Carlos and Tammy’s home. The waters of the destructive flood rose up almost as high as their car roof. So, sitting in the restaurant that fateful day, the topic naturally came up as Carlos and Tammy briefly shared their woes with their waitress. Mary had seen the stories of the devastation caused by the storm unfolding on the news. However, hearing it all firsthand, Mary immediately decided she had to help.
Rather than just lend a sympathetic ear, the kindhearted waitress knew she wanted to do something more. And, she would prove to be the silver lining in this Houston family’s hurricane story. As the Sepeda family finished their meal and headed for the door, Mary slipped Tammy a folded note. Tammy opened it in the parking lot and was immediately left stunned as she showed Carlos and the rest of her family.
“This isn’t much compared to your loss. Buy you something special. God bless — my prayers are w/u,” Mary had written in her note. Enclose inside was a $100 bill. Knowing that $100 isn’t exactly chump change to anyone who depends on tips to make a living, Carlos and Tammy knew they had to act fast. The couple immediately headed back inside to find Mary.
Once they spotted her, they tried to give the money back, saying it was too much. However, she insisted, refusing to listen or take the money back and saying that she had prayed about it. Mary then offered the couple a table and chairs to help them re-furnish their home when the time came. And, looking at the pictures of what Carlos Sepeda Jr. and his wife Tammy discovered when they finally returned home, it’s a good thing they had the kindness of strangers to help get them through.
Blown away by a stranger going above and beyond to help someone in need, Carlos took to Facebook to let the world know about Mary’s wonderful gesture and how grateful he was to have encountered such kindness at such a trying time. It seems it was what people need to see and hear since it’s been shared tens of thousands of times, racking up nearly a hundred thousand likes.
Today, the news is filled with stories of shootings, lying, cheating, theft, and people generally treating each other badly in countless ways. Thankfully, this wasn’t one of them. It was just the opposite, and people have been and are still being moved by the generosity this waitress displayed for absolute strangers during such a devastating time. The best part, however, is that we don’t need a natural disaster to display this same compassion and kindness. Any day can be the day we decide to inspire others, show love, and make the world a better place.