A Facebook post about a Surbiton Pizza Express manager has gone viral after he gave a woman with learning difficulties a free meal when she could not afford to pay.
Lisa Wilks was eating in St Mark’s Hill restaurant on Friday evening with her husband Jeremy and their children when a lady eating alone at the next table had her card rejected and was unable to pay her bill.
Mr Wilks offered to pay for the woman’s food but assistant manager Alex Prince turned him down and said the meal would be free.
He then wrote off the Wilks family’s food too because of their ‘outstanding generosity’ in offering to pay.
Mrs Wilks wrote about the act of kindness on her Facebook profile and the post has since been shared more than 10,000 times.
Lisa and Jeremy Wilks offered to pay for the woman's meal
She said: “There was a very friendly lady dining alone at the next table who had special needs.
“When the time came for her to pay the bill, her bank card was declined.
“Jeremy immediately leapt up and told the waiting staff that we would pay for the lady's meal.
“However, when the manager arrived, he said there was no need to worry.
“Pizza Express authorises the restaurant to give away two free meals per month and they would like to provide her with a free meal.
“Then, the manager approached our table. He said that, as we had shown such generosity, he would like to donate the second free meal to us.
“We were absolutely dumbfounded.”
Mr Prince, 25, said the woman was a regular customer coming to the restaurant ‘a couple of times a month’ and he was able to give away the meals as part of Pizza Express’ Blank Cheque initiative.
He said: “I never expected it to blow up like this. It was just a chance to brighten up someone’s day.
“When the father came up and offered to pay her bill, well, that to me was such an act of generosity.
“We have had people unable to pay before but I have never seen someone else offer to pay like that.
“We were saving the blank cheques for a special occasion but when the dad stepped in and did that I just thought, ‘There’s our second blank cheque right there.’”
Mrs Wilks said: “We go to Pizza Express every couple of months. We like going as it’s always nice, friendly service there.
"He could easily have made his own life easier by giving the free meal to a customer who was complaining or being difficult, but instead he chose to do something better.
“The waitress serving the lady also deserves a mention as she treated the lady in question with such kindness and sensitivity.
"As the parent of an autistic child, I always notice the way that people with special needs are treated.
"Pizza Express Surbiton definitely went the extra mile on this occasion.”
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