Today I walked into a restaurant for dinner. I usually make it a point to sit with others who are also dining alone (perks of travelling alone; or bane) and today my dining partner was Scott, from Atlanta, Georgia.
“Would you like me to join you?” I asked, just in case (some people do prefer reading a book over their meal instead).
“Sure, definitely, most welcome!” he replied.
“After all, why should anyone dine alone when it’s Christmas, eh!” I said, jokingly.
Scott’s wife was just around the corner uploading their pictures to their blog: Jaunts Around The World. She wasn’t hungry so he was left to his own devices, which happened to be dining at The Lemon Tree, here in Pokhara, Nepal. [Very, very good, by the way. Had a super tender and juicy mushroom brandy steak! 5 stars!]
They both quit their jobs, sold off all their stuff, booked their flights (when they still had an income, very smart), packed their backpacks, and left what was once home to spend a year hiking in many countries around the world. They’ve just completed the Everest Base Camp (EBC) and Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) treks, and are headed to India next.
We talked about wanderlust and job markets and living out of a suitcase. We talked about travel plans and life goals and friends back home. We talked about money, earning it, raising it. It was a really lovely evening over some really delicious steak.
And then it was time for him to leave. He got up and said, “It was really very nice meeting you. Enjoy the rest of your journeys! And Merry Christmas!” He paid up for his share, and was very quickly out the door. Don’t want to keep the wifey waiting, I surmised with a chuckle.
A few minutes later when I had finished my meal and my tea, I got up and went to the cashier’s to pay for my share. “Pay?” the cashier and waiter both said at the same time. “No need to pay. That man already paid for you.”
“Whut!” And I stood there feeling like an idiot, and feeling extraordinarily touched. Touched by the gift of kindness and generosity. I’m glad people like that still exist in this world. Merry Christmas indeed, Scott! Wherever you are: Thank you!!!