Random Act of Kindness Renews Holiday Spirit at Cavalier Diner

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Employees at the Cavalier Diner in Charlottesville are nearly speechless by a random act of kindness that occurred at their counter when a customer turned a disaster into a remarkable experience for a busboy he didn't even know.

Employees don't know the customer's name.  They say he comes in occasionally, but what he did Saturday gives them renewed hope in people and holiday spirit.

Sixteen-year-old Clay Lawson from Nelson County buses tables while he goes to school. This year he saved up enough money to buy an iPad to help with his schoolwork, but almost as soon as he came home it disappeared.

Lawson says he set the iPad on a stack of boxes that his mother ended up throwing in a fire pit. “We just have a fire pit to burn cardboard in that we don't use in our wood stove,” Lawson says.

The iPad was charred beyond repair.

Donna Drumheller is a waitress at the Cavalier Diner and a friend of the Lawson family. At work the next morning, she was telling a group of employees what happened when a customer sitting nearby overheard the story. He began to ask about Clay and whether he was a good boy.

The customer paid his bill and then returned in about an hour, with a gift card to Best Buy worth $360.

“I looked at it and it brought tears to my eyes,” Drumheller said. “I had to fan myself and not cry.”

The customer is a stranger who, according to a Best Buy manager, doesn't want to be identified. He just wanted to make a difference, and he has.

“It's really amazing.  I am still in shock that someone went out of their way to do this for complete stranger," said Lawson. "I’m going to try to be a better person just from learning from this experience.”

Lawson picked up his new iPad Sunday night after work. He said he can’t wait to pay it forward with his own acts of kindness for others.

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