The Raleigh woman said the past few years have been very trying for her family. She is going through a messy divorce, has had to move several times, and had to take a year off from attending college. She said recently she found out that her 4-year-old daughter has bullying tendencies, and her 6-year-old son is living with Asperger's and ADHD. The mother asked not to be identified, because she is also a domestic abuse survivor.
Every Friday night, the woman takes her family on a dinner tour where they eat at a different restaurant each week. On Friday, the family went straight from daycare and after school to the Pizza Hut off Sherron Road.
It was around 6 p.m., and her son's medication had long worn off. She was left with parenting lessons she had learned from classes and reading.
She said after they were seated, she saw a young man seated alone in a nearby booth. As she would normally do, the mother apologized for how loud the children were going to be and asked him to forgive them.
He told her not to worry because he had three children of his own and could relate.
The mother and her children went on with their meal. The woman practiced her usual engaging behavior trying to keep the kids occupied and on their best behavior.
After the young man in the adjacent booth finished his meal and left, a waitress and the manager came over to the family's table.
The waitress told the woman that the man asked for paper and a pen shortly after the family was seated. Before he left, he paid the family's bill and left them with a Pizza Hut gift card.
The woman said with tears streaming down her face, she was handed a three page letter the man had written. Now with the waitress and the mother both crying together, they started to read the note:
"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"
"You just don't know what people go through," the mother said. "Here I've had the worst few years of my life, and I never get recognition like this. I just do what I can to get by."
She says her faith is restored, as is her belief that everything will be alright. Now she thinks of 'Jake' as her angel.
"I want him and his family to know that he's awesome," she said. "You never know who's watching you. The greatest displays of integrity ... are when you don't think someone's watching you."
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