Pay it forward: Ontario widower anonymously buys dinner for young couple

Lee and Carol Ballantyne. (Facebook/Supplied)

Lee and Carol Ballantyne. (Facebook/Supplied)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

The kind gesture of an Ontario widower has touched hearts around the world, after someone posted a photo online of the "pay it forward" note he wrote on a restaurant napkin.

Last week, Lee Ballantyne was dining alone for the first time since losing his wife of 43 years on Dec. 30. He decided to pay the bill for a young couple also dining at the Barrie, Ont., restaurant.

"You remind me of us many years ago," he wrote on the napkin. "Please allow me to buy your dinner. Enjoy! It will put a smile on Carol's face and make me happy ... for now."

He signed the note "Pay it forward. Lee B."

QMI Agency columnist Chris Malette, who has known Ballantyne for many years, revealed that the widower had mentioned his gesture to his Facebook friends.

"Lee wasn't looking for accolades, just wanted to share his way of spreading the love and grieving in his own way," Malette wrote.

But Ballantyne's kindness capture the attention of the Internet after a user named Turboturtle08, who said his friend owned the restaurant in question, posted a photo of the note on the social media site Reddit. It has received more than 13,000 "upvotes."


(Imgur/reddit/Turboturtle08)

Ballantyne's son, Jason, was surprised when the story made headlines around the world.

"Little did I know how far the story would spread," he wrote on his blog, and promised to respond to some of the "uplifting" messages he has received.


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