Recent letter writers to this paper (on Feb. 5 and Feb. 9) have shared their experience with and opinions about paying for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant. I would like to share my own experience.

I took my husband out for breakfast Feb. 16 as part of his birthday celebration. During our meal, I happened to look over my shoulder and caught the eye of a young man who was with three friends. We exchanged smiles.

When our bill arrived, my husband and I decided to pay for someone else’s meal, in gratitude for the good in our lives. We arranged with the staff to pay for the meals of the four young people, asking them not to tell what we had done until we left.

Today, I stopped by the same diner for a quick bite to eat. It was then I learned what transpired after our departure. The four young people decided to pay our gift forward to other fellow diners … who did the same … who did the same … who did the same.

All day long, it was one pay-it-forward after another, with the final recipients being members of the military, a strangely perfect rounding out of the circle of give and take.

We don’t always know where a gift may lead, and my husband and I were beyond delighted to discover how ours was paid forward, to touch so many people in a way we never could have imagined.

Zoe Goody

Cape Elizabeth