Customer Repays Chef 15 Years Later For Valentine’s Dinner He Couldn’t Afford

For every case of restaurant owners going ballistic on customers, there are other stories of restaurant staff who actually want to be kind to their patrons. Such was the case in 1997 when a teenager had to borrow $40 from the chef at a French eatery so he could afford to impress his Valentine’s Day date. He’s since returned, 15 years later, to repay that debt — with interest.

The owner and chef of a French restaurant in Albuquerque tells KOAT News that he once helped out a teenager back in the 1990s, who wanted to impress his date with a fancy Valentine’s Day dinner. Trouble is, the kid couldn’t afford to pay the check when it came.

He could’ve made a run for it while his date was in the restroom, but instead asked to speak to the owner and explained that he was short about $40. The owner says he was like, “Hey, I have $40 in my pocket, have it,” and told the kid to pay him back someday if he could.

“Sometimes things come back to you,” he said. “You shouldn’t do them for that specific reason. You should just do it because it’s the right time and the right place and it just felt good.”

The years passed, and the memory of that $40 all but faded. The restaurant had closed down somewhere in the intervening years, and just reopened last week in a new location.  And who do you think was one of the first people through the door? That now-grown teenager, with a $100 bill in hand.

“Sometimes it pays off to be a nice guy,” the owner said. “It made me feel good. I went and bought myself a bouquet of flowers.”

Patron pays 15-year-old debt at restaurant [KOAT News]