Man's note

Despite one of the top stories this past week being about how terrible Americans are at getting along, a picture posted on the Internet messaging board reddit has brought a little credibility back to the United States. Normally a hand-scrawled note to a server about paying the bill would barely make local gossip. However, this man’s offer of charity to two crying women who just received bad news made its way to Japan, moving some to tears and some to wonder if privacy concerns would prevent this from happening in their country.

Reddit user whiskkas posted this photo and said that the note was given by a man sitting next to two women who had suddenly started crying in the middle of their dinner. All of us who have been in the service industry can remember an awkward moment or two where we walked into someone else’s personal life during a meal. It seems like this server was caught in the middle of an uncomfortable situation where these two women, a mother and daughter, were crying.

The man’s note explained that the two had just gotten some bad news that someone had been diagnosed with some disease, presumably quite bad from the emotional reaction. Instead of ignoring the uneasy moment, he instead gave the server a note asking to pay for their dinner. As the server later said about the act: “Faith in humanity, restored.”

In the rest of the almost 2,000 comment thread, other reddit users shared their own stories of the kindness of strangers when eating at restaurants. In Japan, reactions were mostly positive with comments about how this tear-jerker of a tale moved them.

I started crying when I read this…

How great would it be if this kindness came naturally to everyone.

Humans can do some horrible things, but we also have the potential for unbelievable kindness. 

While some wondered if something like this would happen in Japan, a few netizens cynically brought up how Japanese restaurants might frown on putting “personal notes” in the public realm.

This is great and all, but if this happened in Japan the server would have to worry about a boss lecturing them about posting private information.

If this happened here, you know people would get all upset, yelling “Why would you expose a customer’s personal information all over the Internet??”

Although there was virtually no private information on the note, do you think that the hypothetical restaurant manager in Japan has a point? Should servers be punished for bringing attention to the kindness of strangers? (This would not be the first time that privacy protection has gone a little overboard.) Let us know what you think in the comments!
[ Read in Japanese ]