A Remarkable Gift From a Stranger to Sandalwood Park

‘Lunch is on me today’ he says, as he pays the $500 tab

By Kristian Partington

 His name was Ian. That’s all Jennifer Gould really knows about the man who moved her to tears on what was just another day picking up food for the Diner’s Club at The Village of Sandalwood Park in Brampton, where she’s the director of recreation. 

Residents holding a sign saying, "Thank You From Sandalwood Park"
Sandalwood Park residents share their gratitude for a random act of kindness.

On this April day, fish and chips were on order. In fact, there were 63 orders she had to pick up, and she was starting to feel a little bad, as the shop was busy and the line-up of people behind her continued to grow.    

Ian, who was one of the people in line waiting patiently, asked her what all the food was for, so she explained that at the long-term care home where she works, residents pitch in once a month for a take-out order and this was the day the group had a hankering for fish and chips.

“He said, ‘that’s cool,’ and that was kind of the end of the conversation,” Jennifer recalls.

She waited another ten minutes for the order to be complete and when she arrived at the register to pay the bill, Ian pushed her hand away. The total came to just over $490, and he wouldn’t let her pay.

‘It’s okay,’ Jennifer recalls this stranger telling the woman behind the counter. ‘Lunch is on me today. It’s the least I can do.’

Jennifer was dumbfounded.

She asked for a name or an e-mail address or any way that she could contact him to thank him and he refused. ‘You just tell your residents that lunch is on a friend, today,’ he told her, and she found out his name was Ian.

When she arrived back to the village with lunch, team members and residents were blown away by the random act of immense generosity.

“This is remarkable that someone cares so much,” said resident Audrey Morgan, with a shocked expression upon her face. “People don’t do these kinds of things anymore.”

Another resident, Dorothy Peterson, was moved to tears. “That man is an angel,” she said. “We are so blessed.”

A Note from Kristian: There’s a movement spreading around the world this week, started by the close friend of a young father of three who died suddenly in February, leaving behind his family, a huge circle of friends and a legacy of kindness. His name was James, and I was fortunate to count him among my closest of friends. He was the type of guy who would randomly buy a coffee for the person behind him in line and now, #OneForJames is inspiring others to do the same. Kindness is infectious, and this story from Sandalwood Park is a beautiful one to share. I know the residents and team members there will offer Ian’s gesture to others, just as people around the world are carrying my friend’s kindness in their heart when they buy #OneForJames for a stranger behind them in line.