‘Recovering Addict’ Sees Table Of EMTs At IHOP, So She Pens A Note That Leaves Them In Tears

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

First aid responders are often quite literally the difference between life and death, a fact one anonymous woman knows quite well.

Having battled addiction herself, she recently decided to thank a group of New Jersey EMTs with a gesture that wound up moving them to tears.

The six volunteer EMTs were having breakfast at an IHOP in Toms River, New Jersey, the morning of Friday, July 20, when the restaurant’s manager stopped by their table. He informed them that the woman, a complete stranger, had paid their bill.

A note had been left on the back of their receipt: “Paid, thank you for all you do!

Have a great day!” it read. The woman identified herself only as “Recovering Addict.”

“We were all a little fried after Thursday night, and so Friday morning, getting that thank you note, it was the nicest thing anyone could have done for us,” Alyssa Golembeski, captain of the Toms River First Aid Squad, told CNN.

“EMTs do not eat light. We racked up a $77 bill,” Alyssa said.

When her team realized that “Recovering Addict” had paid for their entire meal, they started crying.

Alyssa told CNN that she later approached the IHOP’s manager and asked him if the squad could thank the woman in person, but they were informed that she wanted to remain anonymous.

Undeterred, the squad took to social media and local news stations so that they could express their gratitude properly.

“To the woman who paid our tab today at IHOP, thank you so much for paying for our breakfast,” the squad wrote on Facebook. “This gift was amazingly thoughtful, and brought our table of tired EMTs to tears. We are so blessed to be able to serve you and everyone else who lives and works in the greater Toms River area.

“Good luck on your journey of recovery! ❤️

The squad's story has since gone viral on Facebook.

The squad's story has since gone viral on Facebook.

While the woman still remains anonymous, other recovering addicts have taken to the post’s comments section to show their own appreciation for all emergency personnel.

They know exactly why “Recovering Addict” felt compelled to say “thank you.”

Why? Because they’ve been there themselves.

Sometimes on both sides of the matter.

Fellow or former EMTs chimed in, too.

Some jokingly expressed their amazement that the squad had the time to go to IHOP during their shift.

People related to emergency personnel were just as appreciative.

In fact, pretty much everyone was touched by the story.

The squad’s post has been shared hundreds of times since it went up on July 20.

In the wake of the story’s popularity, Alyssa has two more messages for the woman who made her squad’s day.

“First of all, thank you for buying our breakfast and for literally making my whole week,” she said. “I couldn’t stop smiling that entire day.”

“Second of all, I just want to commend you for getting into recovery and for beating the disease that is addiction.”

A little kindness goes a long way, doesn’t it?