Acts of Kindness
Cafe Owner Finds Card From Stranger With Money And Tear-Jerking Message
The stranger's message had him fighting back tears.
Rozzette Cabrera
09.15.21

The pandemic has left tons of people struggling financially. Most of them are unable to find a job and those who were employed suddenly lost their work. And without jobs, it’s extra hard to get food on the table.

Ron Estlick, the owner of Lakeside Cafe, was almost ready to give up.

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YouTube Screenshot-13 On Your Side

It has been a tough year for him and his business. He was almost ready to say that he couldn’t do it anymore.

Despite the challenges, he still worked hard to keep his restaurant running.

YouTube Screenshot-13 On Your Side
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YouTube Screenshot-13 On Your Side

He was forced to lay off people, keeping only two of his most loyal wait staff members. He had Arika Smith and Michelle Policka to help him keep his business afloat. The two were with him since the restaurant opened in 2013.

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YouTube Screenshot-13 On Your Side

Ron shared:

“I have two people with me each day. I have a server taking orders and a cook cooking the food and I’m making the deliveries or help with the cooking.”

One day, Ron went to check his mailbox.

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YouTube Screenshot-13 On Your Side

There was nothing unusual with the bunch of letters he received that day. However, when he took a closer look, he saw a priority envelope.

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YouTube Screenshot-13 On Your Side

He recalled to WZZM:

“I was like, ‘This is strange.’ and then when I opened it up there was a card and I could tell there was money in it.”

His guess was right.

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YouTube Screenshot-13 On Your Side

There was money inside the envelope. It contained $302.

Along with the money, the kind stranger left a note for the servers. It read:

“I live in Wisconsin and have been in the bar and restaurant industry most of my life. Watching you all go through this shutdown process has been almost painful. I’m sure more so for you obviously. I work full-time at a university here now but once in a while I help out serving at a restaurant for a friend.”

The stranger continued:

“I don’t really have extra money, but the money I make there is not budgeted. So I decided to pick one bar or restaurant to send each shifts tips to in my dad’s hometown of Muskegon. I spend a lot of time there, and I love Muskegon.”

The anonymous person also gave instructions on what to do with the money.

“I know it’s not much, but I was hoping you could divide it amongst your wait staff for me. Please let them know people are thinking of them, we do care, and we see what you’re going through. Hang in there…”

The message left them teary-eyed.

Michelle Policka shared with WZZM:

“It warms my heart that people do care about the small businesses and they want to see us succeed. They know how hard it is for us as servers and the cooks that work in a small businesses that keep getting shut down.”

For Ron, the pandemic has been extra hard.

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YouTube Screenshot-13 On Your Side

He felt disappointed because it left him unable to give his employees the holiday season he was planning for them. He wasn’t able to give them turkeys for Thanksgiving. He wasn’t able to give them Christmas bonuses and parties too.

Aricka agrees. She shared:

“It’s been trying for sure, with all the mask rules. People can be really kind or really not kind. So it’s been hard.”

The letter gave them much-needed hope.

Although they aren’t sure who the letter came from, they are super thankful to that person. Apart from the financial help they received, the message also gave them hope.

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YouTube Screenshot-13 On Your Side

Whoever that person is, Ron appreciates his thoughtful gesture.

He admires the person for offering help without asking for anything in return. It just shows how pure the intention was.

Arika said:

“Thank you for your kindness, your compassion, your caring, and showing us that everybody in this world isn’t so evil right now with everything going on and the chaos and just the compassion to reach out and to show us kindness.”

Watch the full story of the stranger’s kindness below!

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By Rozzette Cabrera
hi@sbly.com
Rozzette Cabrera is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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