Customer pays for everyone’s meals at Gina’s Teardrop Cafe Sunday morning

Owner Gina Buck called it a moving way to start the year

Two customers at Gina’s Teardrop Cafe on Sunday made others’ year just a little bit better.

Upon finishing his own meal, Terry Germany, a customer, asked to pay for everyone’s meal in the restaurant that morning. His friend, Mark Ritter, owner of Granite Mountain in New Lenox, helped pick up the tips.

The act of kindness left Gina Buck, owner of Gina’s Teardrop Cafe, feeling just as grateful.

“It was so awesome,” she said. “He didn’t care how many people were in the restaurant. He asked me to grab everyone’s check and that is what I did.”

Ritter, who asked to go halves on it, said with a laugh that Germany told him to put his money away.

“Gina is amazing,” Ritter said. “She does stuff for people and goes (out of her way to do it) ... Anything to help her out, I’m moved to do it.”

It also left much of the restaurant speechless that someone would do such a thing for people they don’t even know.

One customer described the experience as being nice to see that there is still good in the world and that for the most part, people want to help others, even if it doesn’t benefit them.

Buck agreed.

“There is still good out there,” Buck said. “At first, they were just sitting in the back of the restaurant and it was anonymous, then everyone knew who it was. That was such a great way to start the year off.”

Everyone knew who it was because as Ritter paraphrased it, Germany announced something like, “This is the best woman in the world.”

Ritter said Germany instigated it and they just wanted to give back to Buck and make the people there happy.

In a Facebook post by Gina’s Teardrop Cafe, people left comments saying they hope it inspired others to act kindly and pay it forward in some way, and random acts of kindness like that make the world a gentler place to live, and that “kindness wins.”

“It felt good to be a part of that,” Buck said.

Sean Hastings

Sean is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet covering the Village of New Lenox. He covers the local school districts, village board, and other community news and feature stories. He joined the staff in September 2020.