A conversation between a father and his young daughter overheard by a server prompted a Japanese restaurant in Thailand to treat the pair to a special birthday meal.
Panumas Sroitong, the owner of a hot pot restaurant in the coastal city of Rayong, shared the touching encounter on March 19 in a now-viral Facebook post.
According to Sroitong, the father took his daughter to the restaurant because it was her birthday wish to eat shabu-shabu, a Japanese “nabemono” hot pot dish made with thinly sliced vegetables and meat.
The server waiting at their table overheard the dad telling his daughter that he would wait outside the restaurant, as he could not afford to pay for both of them. The girl responded by telling him she would not eat unless they ate together.
Sroitong said that after the waitress told her about the conversation, they let the pair know that they would receive a free meal to enjoy.
The restaurant even purchased a birthday cake from a nearby convenience store to celebrate.
In her post, the restaurant owner shared images taken from the restaurant’s CCTV footage. One of the photos showed Sroitong apparently in tears after talking to the girl and her dad.
“It would be even better if Bella’s mother were with us today,” the owner quoted the father as telling his daughter.
The two thanked the owner and the staff after the birthday meal.
Facebook users showered the original post with over 208,000 reactions, 5,000 comments and over 83,000 shares. The comments section was filled with well-wishes for the man and his daughter and praises for Sroitong.
“I wish good things would return to this restaurant,” one commenter wrote.
“I appreciate this. Hope for good business for you,” another user commented.
Many commenters offered financial support to the father, but the owner shared that he had refused such offers and even declined to be interviewed.
“On behalf of the father and his daughter, thank you for all your offers of help,” she wrote in a later post.
In an interview with local reporters, the owner said she was moved by the father after seeing “how much he loved his daughter.”