Mystery customer pays Belvidere family’s $100 tab

A regular at a Belvidere restaurant has a history of paying for random customers’ bills, no matter the amount.
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Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 12:41 AM CDT
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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - Random acts of kindness contribute to life in a big way, and one anonymous patron has been spreading kindness by picking up the tab for strangers.

“It makes you want to do nice things for people,” said Jackie Ahrendt.

Jackie Ahrendt and her family enjoy attending Coaches Corner, S. State Street in Belvidere, for their steak dinners. Normally, Ahrendt’s fiancé, Brian Cerasa, orders a steak dinner but this time their son Jake Cerasa, 9, did too.

The total amount of both steak dinners plus Ahrendt’s dinner averaged $90, and with tip, more than $100.

“To me, this wasn’t just a small random act of kindness. I mean that was quite generous,” she said.

While they were prepared to pay the amount, an anonymous customer intervened and covered their bill for them. When Jackie asked who paid the bill, her waiter said the person is a regular, and will choose at random a customer’s bill to cover. They prefer to be anonymous and let their act of kindness speak for itself.

“Very unexpected and surprising at first and then it makes you kind of really take a step back and feel humbled,” she said.

Five weeks into recovery from a major surgery that forced her away from work, Jackie says this act of kindness meant a lot during a time when finances are troubling.

Other food places like Starbucks and Culver’s have also witnessed random acts of kindness.

“It’s so much fun because it can just be like a rainy day and somebody can just like offer to pay for the car behind them and it just keeps going from there,” said Anita Keo, a shift supervisor at Starbucks.

“That person came up that was payed for and just like, well this since kindness was spread towards me I want to spread it towards another person, and people just kept paying for the people behind them,” said Ashley Trotter, an employee at Culver’s.

While times can be tough, it’s important to remember the small things can matter most.

“You should always find some positive throughout your day you know, cause ain’t no tellin’ when you might leave this earth,” said Jacob Holliman, an employee at Culver’s.

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