It was absolutely surreal ... and beautiful.
It’s easy to see the world as a dark hell-hole these days. Politics, religious beliefs, and violence are tearing the country apart.
At least, that’s how it feels to me.
I want to talk about none of that right now.
I want to talk instead about a recent day in my life where I experienced strangers going above and beyond acts of basic kindness.
It was a day I will never forget, because it was as perfect as a day can be, full of smiles, joy and love.
It was my friends’ wedding day.
A. & C. have been a couple for years, and when they told me that they wanted to get married in a quiet ceremony with only myself and one other friend, "Jay," present, I was beyond honored.
Jay and I immediately decided that if our friends were going to elope, we would make sure it was the best damn day of their entire lives.
We planned all the details together. We decided to go all out, selecting a nice restaurant at which we would treat the couple and their lovable toddler, C. Jr., to the best dinner we possibly could.
They decided they wanted Italian. Jay has a client whose grandmother owns a little Italian restaurant, so we made arrangements with them to have a special table set up for the occasion. We pre-ordered a menu, which we had approved by the couple, made arrangements for decorations, a guitarist, and a cake.
We saved and planned up until the literal last minute.
The day of the wedding arrived.
At first A. & C. wanted to have the ceremony performed by the Mayor, but he was unavailable. They did some research and found a woman who had been ordained and able to make it.
When we arrived at the park A. & C. chose for the setting, we had super low expectations of her — a few simple words, the signing of the paperwork, and that’s it ... we thought.
That lovely woman performed the full ceremony with them, vows and everything. It was beautiful.
When the marriage was complete, A. & C. went to write her a check for the ceremony — and the woman REFUSED to be paid.
She wished them well and left ... without taking a penny.
We then headed to the restaurant.
Whatever I was expecting, it wasn't nearly as extraordinary as what the women in that restaurant materialized for us.
There were white roses, wildflowers, streamers, bells, and confetti that said, “Love.”
And there was a pair of teddy bears on the table, because they remembered we said they would have a special significance for A. & C.
The restaurant took such good care of our group — and we ate so much — Jay and I were concerned there wouldn’t be room for the cake.
When the cake was brought out, it was a beautiful two-tiered delight — and on top was a ceramic topper with two bears getting married, which had arrived from Michigan that very afternoon.
A. & C. were completely surprised, and tears were shed. The waitress took my phone, and with it, dozens of pictures.
Things start winding down, and I started getting ready to cover the bill with Jay, when the restaurant owner walked up to our table and said something I never could have expected:
“The table over there has paid for your check. It’s all taken care of.”
We were floored. We looked to the other table and saw a pair of couples in their late 40s/early 50s. We immediately went over to thank them and make sure they received pieces of the cake.
We even took pictures with them, because that level of kindness deserves to be remembered.
As we got ready to leave with our leftovers, one of the gentlemen from those two couples came over and slipped something into C.’s hand.
It wasn’t until we were in the parking lot that C. dared to look. It was $100.
We couldn’t believe it. We were just overwhelmed with gratitude.
It was truly a perfect day.
While things too often seem dark and depressing out there in the world, and it feels like people are always tearing each other apart, remember this:
I was surprised to discover it, but it’s true.