A Man Spots A 'Sad' Woman Eating Alone At Restaurant & Offers To Pay For Her Meal — But People Are Concerned

What he believed was a kind gesture can raise fears in women who are out alone.

woman with a wine glass alone Nejron Photo / Shutterstock

A social media influencer is receiving unexpected backlash after he filmed his kind deed for a fellow shopper while at the mall. People are referring to his uncalled actions as “creepy” and unsettling.” 

His act of kindness also raises awareness of the importance of independence, and how it is not something that should be perceived negatively. 

The man spotted a ‘sad’ woman dining alone at a mall food court and decided to pay for her meal. 

Neenib Youkana, who has over 1 million followers on TikTok, was at the mall one day when he noticed a woman sitting alone with her dog at a table in a food court. Believing that the woman was “sad” to be eating alone, he filmed her from a distance and decided that he would pay for her meal. 


In a TikTok video that has garnered over 18 million views, Youkana approaches an employee of the restaurant the woman had ordered a meal from. He points out the woman sitting alone and asks if he could cover her food. The employee grants his request. 



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The next clip depicts a waiter walking up to the woman, explaining that her meal has already been paid for.

“What do you mean?” she asks him, appearing confused. 

“You don’t have to worry about it,” the waiter tells her. “Some random stranger paid for your meal today.” 

When the woman asks who the stranger is, the waiter replies, “Just a random person giving out kindness,” telling her that she has been “chosen.” 

Still, the woman insists on knowing the identity of the stranger. “I can’t tell you. He’s around in the mall. He doesn’t know you, he’s just giving it toward people.” 

The woman asks if the stranger always picks up people’s tabs or if he has just done it for her. “You’re the lucky one today,” the waiter says. 


That’s when the waiter tells the woman that he has “another surprise” for her, before disappearing behind the counter and returning with a bouquet of roses. Even more perplexed and overwhelmed, the woman demands to know who paid for her meal and sent her flowers. 

The waiter chuckles and tells her, “You’ll never know.” Youkana points out that the roses are the same color as the woman’s dog’s leash. 

man offers to pay for woman's meal because she is dining alonePhoto: @neenib / TikTok


While Youkana clearly believed that he was extending kindness toward the woman, other people did not feel the same way. 

Some people pointed out that the woman appeared to be afraid, assuming that she was being watched by an unidentified stranger. 

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“Nah that’s scary, I would be so paranoid and feel like I’m being watched and followed,” one TikTok user commented. 

“If someone did that to me, I would be leaving right away. Cause I don't like being watched,” another user shared. 

“She wants to know because she's afraid she has a stalker. When we go out alone, we WANT to be invisible,” another user added. 


Others noted that the woman did not appear to be sad that she was eating alone. 

“But she isn't sad. She is enjoying her meal in peace. I love dining alone!” one user wrote. 

“We need to stop equating ‘alone’ with ‘lonely.’ Maybe she was enjoying a nice lunch in her own company like so many of us do!” another user pointed out. 

“I eat alone often when I travel to other cities for work, and I would be furious if some creep recorded me for a TikTok,” another user revealed. 


Believe it or not, it is beneficial for people to reserve some time for themselves and eat out alone every once in a while. It allows us to decompress and give ourselves a break from entertaining others.

"Constantly being 'on' doesn't give your brain a chance to rest and replenish itself. Being by yourself with no distractions gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus and think more clearly,” psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter told Psychology Today. “It's an opportunity to revitalize your mind and body at the same time." 

When someone is dining out by themselves, it does not necessarily mean that they are sad or lonely. They are most likely catching up on some much-needed self-reflecting time and relaxation.

While it is a kind gesture to offer to pay for someone’s meal, it should not be offered simply because you assume that the person was sad to be eating alone. If anything,  the gesture may frighten them if you refuse to come forward and they will always have to look over their shoulder for their potential “stalker.” 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.