On Father's Day this year, Dan Cortez and his wife, Maxi, went out to eat, enjoyed a nice meal, and were having a great time with their daughters, Harper and Harlow.
And when they asked for the bill, the couple saw that a stranger had scribbled a message on the back of the receipt.
But what the strangers didn't know was that the family was missing one of their children that day. All was not as it seemed.
Dan and Maxi Cortez of Cabot, Arkansas, struggled for years to have children. And in the end, they decided to try in vitro fertilization and finally found success.
Maxi became pregnant with triplets, and on May 27, 2015, little Landon, Harper, and Harlow entered the world via caesarean section. The children were all healthy and returned home with their parents after three weeks in the hospital.
Two weeks later, Landon started feeling ill. Dan rushed his young son to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, a very serious infection.
The doctors did everything in their power, but tragically, Landon died in the hospital at just seven weeks old.
Then this year, for the family's first Father's Day without their beloved boy—Dan and Maxi decided to take their 1-year-old daughters to eat at Red Lobster.
But when they asked for the bill, Dan and Maxi noticed a note on the back of the receipt.
"Enjoy your babies, they don’t stay little long. From the family across from you, God bless you," the anonymous note said.
But that wasn't all: the kind strangers had also paid for the Cortezes' meal.
The simple gesture meant more than good Samaritans could ever have imagined.
And Maxi was so moved, she went on Facebook to write about the event:
"To the family in Red Lobster who sat across from us today. You never ask a question we never spoke a word. Yet you did something for us that we will never forget. When the waitress handed us your note the tears began to fall. To you we looked like just a family of 4 celebrating the most important man in our lives. Little did you know last year we celebrated as a family of 5."
"You see this past year we lost one of our triplets! The holidays are always the hardest. Without knowing any of this you paid for our meal. You might never know our story or the impact of something so little could effect our lives. I’m writing you to thank you from the bottom of our hearts! I hope this post reaches you, so one day you might know that what might seemed like a small gesture of kindness to you, made celebrating my wonderful husband just a little bit easier this year! Please share so maybe they can see this!"
Dan and Maxi were totally surprised by the kind gesture they received at the restaurant. It came when it was needed the most—and it shows how much an act of kindness to a stranger can mean to them. Please share this story to inspire others to show a little kindness to their fellow humans!
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