— -- A stranger paid the lunch bill for a group of National Guard troops on Wednesday in Rockford, Michigan, but left before the troops could thank him.
“He did it in the good of his heart,” said John Vanaman, general manager of the Corner Bar restaurant where the troops ate. “He didn’t mention why or anything. He just wanted to cover everything."
When the troops first walked in for lunch after training at the nearby Belmont Armory, Vanaman and his staff were trying to orchestrate how to seat them and what kind of discount to give them -- all while taking care of the busy lunch crowd, Vanaman explained.
Then a customer requested to speak with the manager.
“The patron said he wanted to cover the entire bill for the troops,” Vanaman said. “We asked him a couple of times to make sure, and he intended to cover more than what it ended up being."
The bill came out to $179.92. The man paid around $200 with tip, according to Vanaman.
“It’s always surprising when something nice happens like that,” Vanaman said.
The man requested that no one know of his identity and he left before the troops could say thank you.
The troops were all “gracious” and “overwhelmed by the thought of someone doing such a nice act,” Vanaman said.
Lieutenant Colonel William Humes, spokesman for the Michigan National Guard, told ABC News that it’s always very “gratifying” and “humbling” when a stranger pays the tab for servicemen and women.
“It shows that we’re still appreciated,” he said, adding, he’s “nothing but grateful.”
Vanaman and the staff at Corner Bar were also touched and are planning a catering event at the armory for all the troops who didn’t get a chance to come that day. The restaurant is covering the bill.