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“Phantom Grandpa” Pays for Strangers’ Meals Every Week, Warms Hearts Everywhere

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Image Source: Rebecca Larson

In light of all of the horrible events that have occurred in the world over the last few months, one Illinois mother was recently reminded that there is still plenty of goodness out there. While eating breakfast with her son in the Chicago suburbs, Glen Ellyn resident Rebecca Larson was the recipient of a not exactly random, but beautiful act of kindness by a total stranger.

“On Fridays I often take my 5-year-old son out to breakfast before work so we can spend some special time together,” Rebecca wrote in a post in The New Wheaton Illinois Moms Group, a local Facebook group in Wheaton, Illinois.

“Today we went to Danby’s Station in Glen Ellyn. When I went to pay the bill, the waitress said a man who had been sitting across the restaurant had paid it for us.”

When Rebecca, who works at Wheaton College, looked over to the booth in hopes of thanking the kind stranger, she realized he was already gone.

“Oh, he does it all the time,” the waitress informed her. “He calls himself ‘The Phantom Grandpa.'”

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Image Source: Rebecca Larson

According to restaurant owner Nick Zaras, The Phantom Grandpa is quite consistent with his visits, blessing other customers with a free meal a few times a month.

“He comes here on Friday mornings between 6 and 7,” Zarras tells Babble. “He pays for the meals of other customers, usually women with their children, every couple of weeks.”

The man, whose name is Dennis and is around 60 years old, explained to the restaurant staff that he does it because he has grandchildren of his own and he misses them.

Though his ritual is in honor of his own grandchildren, his generosity is warming the hearts of mothers and children in a time of darkness.

“A small gesture, but one that encouraged me so much today in the face of so much bad news about people being horrible to one another,” Rebecca wrote on Facebook. “It doesn’t solve the massive, heartbreaking problems our society faces. It doesn’t begin to address the work of reconciliation that we are called to in Christ. It doesn’t help all the mammas who hugged their sons this morning just like I did, but had to wonder if today might be the day their precious boy becomes a hashtag.”

Though it obviously won’t solve some of the huge national and international problems, Rebecca encourages the rest of us to follow in The Phantom Grandpa’s footsteps, in hopes of making the world a better place one good deed at a time.

“It’s a small shaft of light coming through a crack into the darkness. It’s a reminder that not everyone in this world is out to do violence. So in honor of The Phantom Grandpa, I encourage all of us to show an extra bit of kindness to one another today. Because goodness knows we need it.”

How are you paying it forward? Let us know below in the comments.

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