GRANDVILLE, Mich. -- Jesse Schwartz has been on the job at Red Robin in Grandville for about six months, but on the evening of November 13, he did something he's never done before.
The Red Robin server paid it forward to a woman who recently beat cancer.
Bonnie Dykstra said that she went to the restaurant to celebrate with her pastor an upcoming final round of chemotherapy when the server got wind of her great news and wanted to make her night even more special.
Her meal was his treat.
"I think a lot of people sometimes forget about the little things that sort of make living in life better," said Jesse.
"Yes I had lung cancer. I never smoked a day in my life," said Bonnie. "As soon as Jesse our waiter came up, our pastor's wife was so excited she said, 'We're celebrating! Bonnie doesn't have cancer any more.'"
The news of her illness hit close to home for Jesse. "My grandpa kind of just went through the same thing. He beat cancer too, so I knew how she felt a little bit," he said. "She looks great for just beating cancer. Cancer is a huge obstacle, and for someone who has the strength to overcome that obstacle, I thought the least I can do is buy your dinner."
Bonnie said she was surprised that her server paid for her meal.
"Come time for the bill, he looked at me and said, 'Yours has been taken care of,'" she said. "He said, 'I want you to go and have a happy healthy life.' I was just overwhelmed because you don't see that with anybody!"
The two met again on Sunday. They said that they now share a special bond, one of inspiration and determination to overcome any obstacle life throws their way.
"I think in a serving position you have the ability to change people's days just by what you say to them," said Bonnie. "I have one more chemo left, and then I'm done, and I'm free of cancer. So I thank the Lord for that."
Bonnie said even if Jesse didn't pay for her meal, she knew he was a special guy and was just thankful for his kind service that night.