Being in the midst of a divorce with two younger children -- both with behavioral challenges -- having had to move several times and experiencing other difficulties, it's safe to say this North Carolina mother is a bit worn out.
Yet she still manages to take her 4- and 6-year-old out to a restaurant each Friday. Last week, the unidentified mother wrote to WTVD-TV about a touching event that happened when her family was at a Pizza Hut in Durham.
This Raleigh, N.C. mom took her young children to a Pizza Hut in Durham on Friday. She didn't know she was being watched, but a man nearby was impressed and made a gesture that restored her faith. (Image source: WTVD-TV)
Settling into a booth and knowing her 6-year-old son's Asperger's syndrome and ADHD medication had worn off, the mother apologized in advance for any unruliness that might come from their table to a man seated nearby. As a father of three kids, he told her he understood.
The meal progressed and the mom worked to keep her children entertained. The man finished his food and left the restaurant.
But that's not all.
The mother, who has been down on her luck at times this year, said this gesture meant so much to her for her family. (Image source: WTVD-TV)
The waitress, tearing up, handed the mother a three-page note on receipt paper left by the man, paying for the family's meal and also leaving a gift card for future use. It read:
"I do not know your back story, but I have had the privilege of watching you parent your children for the past 30 minutes. I have to say thank you for parenting your children in such a loving manner.
I have watched you teach your children about the importance of respect, education, proper manners, communication, self-control and kindness all while being very patient. I will never cross your path again but am positive that you and your children have amazing futures.
Keep up the good work and when it starts to get tough do not forget that others may be watching and will need the encouragement of seeing a good family being raised. God bless! -Jake"
The woman said she thinks the man who left her the note could have been an angel. (Image source: WTVD-TV)
Upon reading the message, the mom cried too.
"When you just don't know what people go through -- and here I've had the worst few years of my life -- and I'd never get recognition like this. I just do what I can to get by," the mother told WTVD.
The mom said she felt Jake was an angel.
"For him to definitively state our paths would never cross again told me that this was someone much more than someone just trying to encourage me," she said.
"You never know who's watching you," she said later. "And the greatest displays of integrity and pure core of who you are, are when you don't think someone is watching you."
Watch the local TV station's report about the touching gesture: