A waitress was left in tears after a generous customer left her $500 for a new hearing aid.
Keri Marie Carlson met the kind stranger while seating a group of diners at GW Carson’s in Branford, Conn., on April 10. As they chatted, the man noticed she was wearing a hearing aid.
"We got into talking about not being able to hear," she told InsideEdition.com. "However, I kept asking him to repeat himself a lot. He asked me if two aids would help and I told him I normally wear two, I just broke one not too long ago."
She handed the table over to another server and settled down to have her own lunch.
"As I am stuffing my face with food, [the customer] comes in the back and says, 'I want you to have something,'" she recalled. "I look at him all puzzled."
Incredibly, he handed her $500 cash, and told her, "I am not taking no for answer, I want you to have this... Here is $500 to help you out with whatever you need," she said.
Carlson was stunned.
"My breathing and heart rate increased, tears came pouring out of my eyes and I cried in that man's arms," she said. "I was, and still am, in shock that it even happened."
Carlson lost her hearing when she was 4 in a car accident but it took her three years to get her first set of hearing aids. Before she did, "we just thought I had a learning disability," she said. "I stayed back in first grade due to that."
Over the years, her hearing has become worse and she now relies on lip reading and hearing aids to work at GW Carson’s - a job she adores.
She said she's so grateful to the man — whose identity she is keeping hidden — for helping her out when she needed it.
"Thank you so much from my humble heart for this amazing gift," she said in a message directed at her new friend. "You helped me believe there are still good people out there."
Now the owner of GW Carson’s, Jim Kirtopoulos, is following the man's example. He's donating a portion of the proceeds from the restaurant’s T-shirt sales to the American Society for Deaf Children.