For many families, going out for dinner on a Friday night to celebrate the end of the work week is not an uncommon affair. For one family, however, a usual dining-out turned into a surprising and heartwarming experience.

Nannie Asniar, 32, was having dinner with her husband and three young daughters at Al-Azhar Restaurant opposite Bukit Timah Shopping Centre last Friday when she received an unexpected act of kindness.

While her husband was parking the car, she and her daughters ordered their food and started eating as they were famished. Just as her husband reached the table, one of the waiters came over and passed them the receipt, saying that their dinner was already paid for.

In a Facebook post, Asniar wrote: “I saw a Chinese lady sitting alone next to our table smiling while looking at the girls eating. It was a normal sight for me thus I didn’t think of anything.”

“The moment she stood up after finishing her dinner, I noticed that she tried to peek at our table number. Once again, I didn’t think much because I was busy attending to the girls. Though I’m not sure who (paid for our meal), I have a strong feeling it was that Chinese lady.”

Asniar told The Pride that she was shocked but also ecstatic over her unexpected free dinner. She couldn’t find the woman, who had left by the time Asniar realised she paid for the meal, so she decided to go online to tell her story.

“As I couldn’t thank her personally, I strongly believe that social media is the strongest platform to reach out to her.”

Netizens were full of praise and support for the anonymous woman.

One, Astrid Luisa, wrote, “Beautiful girls, I’m sure she just wanted to say you’re doing a great job mama. A very sweet and thoughtful gesture of the kind lady.”

Another, Hong Wanling Jaylene, commented, “The lady must have thought you were alone with three kids and wanted to give you a little treat! So nice of her!”

Others came forward with their own pay-it-forward stories.

Image Source: Facebook / Nannie Asniar

Netizen Cassandra Tan shared that last week, she saw an elderly woman at a chicken rice stall using a $50 note to try to pay for her meal. The stall owner asked for her to go to other stalls to “break” the note as he did not have enough change.

The old woman explained that she was alone and could not leave her food unattended, adding that the $50 was the only money she had for the week.

So Tan told the seller to charge her meal to her.

“I mean (it’s a) win-win situation. The queue can carry on, the aunty can have her meal and I can do a good deed,” Tan wrote. “It feels good to help someone else.”

On Facebook, Al-Azhar Restaurant also replied to Asniar’s post, saying: “Thank you for sharing this act of kindness online. We are really touched by this, and we want to continue this culture of helping one another. We will continue to encourage our staff and customers to embody this spirit, and we thank you again for this uplifting news!”

Asniar said that this generous act of kindness from a complete stranger has motivated her family to find ways to pay it forward.

“She brought smiles to our faces and we will definitely pay this forward to the next family, all because of this positive vibe she has brought,” Asniar wrote.

“I hope us paying it forward will have the same effect on the next family.”

Top Image: Nannie Asniar