Nurse picks up diner tab, 46 others pay it forward

Posted at 11:30 AM, Nov 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-06 15:46:26-05

BARRE, Vt. – On a chilly morning in Barre, Vermont, a random act of kindness warmed the hearts of strangers and spurred another — and another after that.

Kathleen Connors stopped at L&M Diner on Saturday after a 12-hour overnight shift at Central Vermont Medical Center, where she works as a surgical nurse.

“She got her usual breakfast,” L&M manager Tayler Merriam told CNN. “Hot chocolate with extra whipped cream, a plain pancake and table syrup.”

Connors got up to pay her bill but instead of paying for just herself, she footed the bill for a nearby pair who appeared to be father and son, whom she didn’t know.

“I was looking around aimlessly and I had a pocket full of bingo winnings,” Connors said. “It’s nice to see a family come together on the weekend.”

After paying $40 for both meals, she got in her truck and went home without a thought.

What she didn’t know was that her generosity would be repeated — 46 times — in the span of 6 hours.

“It was a shocker,” Merriam said, “It started at 7:30 in the morning and lasted until 10 (minutes) after 2, and we close at 3.”

L&M Diner is a relatively small establishment. Housing just 13 booths and 11 seats at the counter, it’s the type of joint that attracts local regulars.

Connors is a regular, and she’s known around Barre for her “bubbly” personality and easygoing nature, according to Merriam.

“I see a lot of people in the restaurant business and she’s one of those people you can carry on a conversation with,” Merriam said.

Connors moved to Vermont 10 months ago after living in Massachusetts for the majority of her life.

She stops at L&M Diner about twice a week after her shifts at the hospital, just like she did Saturday.

“This is my way of showing my appreciation for Vermont. I love Vermont and I couldn’t be happier. I love where I work, I love where I live and I love the people around me,” Connors told CNN affiliate WCAX.