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"I’ll never know who you are. I’ll never be able to personally thank you ... "
A Sailor who was brought to tears over the kindness of fellow diner wrote a moving Facebook post to thank the mysterious stranger.
“First, I offer my apologies. You see I am not sure how I ought to refer to you,” Mann wrote in his heartfelt Facebook post. “I looked feverishly around the restaurant … but the waiter refused to tell me your name.”
While at a Maryland restaurant Wednesday, Lt. Commander Bashon Mann sat at a table with his family to celebrate his daughter Sabine’s 6th birthday. That evening Sabine had asked her daddy, who works at the Pentagon, to put on his Navy uniform for her birthday celebration.
“She does not get to see me in uniform very often, and I was proud of her that she would ask to see me in what Daddy goes to work in,” Mann told TheBlaze.
But wearing his uniform led to the unexpected kindness. At some point during their meal, the unnamed benefactor asked Mann’s waiter for their bill and covered the tab, but gave strict instructions not to tell the family who paid for their dinner.
So Mann took to social media to thank the stranger.
“You don’t know a single burden I may carry or what I may have been going through today… I fought back tears as I tried to keep myself together and take in your kindness at its root. You presented me with hope and faith.”
The stranger’s kindness stayed on Mann’s mind for hours, and his letter explains why the gesture meant so much.
“Things have been difficult the past couple of years … It has been hours now and I have not stopped thinking about the profoundness of your actions," Mann said. "I suspect it is going to take me some time to figure out how I shall properly respond. How do I take your action and create an equally compelling and forceful reaction. How do I pay it forward?”
Mann told TheBlaze he felt like an open letter on Facebook was the best way to express his thanks to the kind stranger because he began writing a special series of letters -- he calls them “Daddy’s Love Notes” -- to his two young daughters, Basil and Sabine. “As I turned 40, I realized I wanted to give them some life lessons to draw from," he said. He ended up writing 40 letters to the girls with a moral at the end of each.
He said the moral lesson he hopes his girls take away from this letter to the kind stranger, is to give heartily even when you know you may never be properly thanked.
“I’ll never know who you are. I’ll never be able to personally thank you for doing something I may have merely only thought of in passing, something I may have never done on my own accord,” Mann said. “I will not soon forget your overture. I need you to know that I won’t block the flow of generosity; I won’t halt your abundance of goodness.”
You can read the entire thank you letter, here:
Dear “ “,
First, I offer my apologies. You see I am not sure how I ought to refer to you. The waiter was instructed not to disclose whom you were when I asked to know. But wait, let me back up a little bit and explain myself. “ “, you didn’t know this but today was my youngest daughter’s birthday. Her name is Sabine, and this beautiful little pack of dynamite and hug muscle turned 6 today. When we asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday dinner, she said without hesitation, “Mi Rancho!” It has become a bit of a birthday destination ritual for our daughters to visit Mi Rancho as these little puellas have become enamored with their birthday sombrero tradition and fresh from the oven sopaipillas, coated with honey and confectionary sugar. They are hooked. So we now realize that each birthday heretofore will undoubtedly be spent at Mi Rancho in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am guessing “ “, that you are already undoubtedly familiar with the fantastic menu at this establishment.
November 19, 2014 was not an especially peculiar day for any reason, it was rather cold in the nation’s capital but other than the usual beltway driven, dog chasing its tail political nuance that occurs here on a daily basis this was simply not unlike any other day as far as I could see. “ “, I suspect you saw it through a completely different lens however, just my hunch. I do want you to know that I walked into that restaurant this evening wearing my Navy service dress uniform because my daughter asked that I dress up for the occasion of her birthday dinner. I was more than happy to oblige. You see, she does not get to see me in uniform very often, and I was proud of her that she would ask to see me in what Daddy goes to work in. After all it is my work that tends to keep me from seeing them as often as I, and THEY would like. However, all other melancholy realities of life put aside, when we walked in Mi Rancho Wednesday night all was good. We were together, we were smiling, we were ready to celebrate Sabine.
“ “, my parents George and Linda Mann could not make it down from New York for this birthday dinner, though they made sure they were present in spirit. My mother, the saint she is had made sure to reach out to me just days before to tell me she would send a check in the mail to cover the cost of dinner.
“ “, I am 41 yrs old, so when I tell you that I sometimes hang my head a bit when Mom & Dad say they got “it”, well you’ll just have to understand though tremendously grateful for the blessing of parents with the energy, ability and will to share so lovingly, there is the small sting of humility and a burden I feel I place upon them from time to time. Things have been difficult the past couple of years and it’s a longer story than you probably have time for. Thus, you are asking yourself why am I telling you all of this? I’m longwinded, can never tell a short story. You see “ “, it’s just that you caught me flat footed. And maybe that was your intent. You don’t know my inner struggles, and I don’t know yours. Perhaps that is how it is meant to be; perhaps that is the blessing inside the blessing - one I shall just have to accept and learn from. That despite heaviness, strife and anguish it is the openness of ones heart that allows for the good to spread, for healing to be felt. It has been hours now and I have not stopped thinking about the profoundness of your actions Wednesday evening at Mi Rancho. And, I suspect it is going to take me some time to figure out how I shall properly respond. How do I take your action and create an equally compelling and forceful reaction. How do I pay it forward?
After the fulfilling dinner was consumed and dishes cleared from the table, after dessert was served, birthday songs sung, candles blown out, ice cream and sopaipillas consumed did the waiter lean over my right shoulder ever so gently to speak. “Sir, your check has been taken care of this evening, and thank you for your service.” I looked feverishly around the restaurant, scanning each patron for a telling glance. I needed to know who did this – who was kind enough, generous enough, and human enough in this day and age to reach into their pocket and pay for a mother, a father and their two daughters to have a birthday dinner at Mi Rancho.
The waiter refused to tell me your name “ “, he heeded your instruction and failed to budge. I’ll never know who you are. I’ll never be able to personally thank you for doing something I may have merely only thought of in passing, something I may have never done on my own accord. Something I could only wish I had the fortitude and bravery to have done a long time ago.
“ “, you don’t know a single burden I may carry or what I may have been going through today, nor do I know the travails of your daily journey; but when I reached my car to begin my drive down Georgia Avenue, I fought back tears as I tried to keep myself together and take in your kindness at its root. You presented me with hope and faith; you were a blessing tonight at Mi Rancho and I will not soon forget your overture. I need you to know that I won’t block the flow of generosity; I won’t halt your abundance of goodness.
Thank you “ ”, you are my “friend.”
Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter
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