An anonymous couple paid a $485 tab for a group of autistic students and their teachers at Jose Tejas Restaurant in Woodbridge, New Jersey, May 6. (Credit: Google Maps)
Twenty-five autistic students and their teachers were left speechless when an anonymous couple paid for their meals at a Tex-Mex restaurant in New Jersey earlier this month.
The students of Matthew Jago Elementary School along with 21 teachers, paraprofessionals and speech therapists were celebrating Cinco de Mayo a day late on May 6 at Jose Tejas Restaurant in Woodbridge, New Jersey.
At the end of their meal, they were told that their $485 bill was paid in full by a fellow patron who wished to remain anonymous.
"The manager came up to us and said, 'I just want to let you know that a fellow patron wants to pay your bill," teacher Jeannette Gruskowski told NBC New York. "We were speechless. We were all crying."
The manager told the teachers that the mystery couple are regulars at the restaurant and that they have a grandchild with special needs, NBC New York reported. The generous patrons also knew that it was Teacher Appreciation Day and wanted to show their gratitude for the teachers.
"We all were just taken aback. Nobody’s ever done such a generous, anonymous thing like that," Gruskowski told The Home News Tribune. "We're still just amazed."
Even though the couple wished to remain anonymous, the students wanted to say thank you. They created a large card to be posted inside the restaurant that they hope the couple will see.
"There are no words to express how touched and grateful we are to you," the card reads. "Your act of generosity will be embedded in our hearts."
The students and teachers, who had all brought their own money to pay for the meal, can now save the money to use on another trip.
The class trips allow the students to apply skills they learn in school in a social setting, The Home News Tribune reported.
“It only helps them assimilate into the community in the future, and with their parents. It’s been a wonderful program,” Principal Robert Patten said.
"We’re lucky here that we have a lot of opportunities to help people, and we have a lot of opportunities to do good things for kids. It was just so nice that out in the community somebody seized another opportunity and did a really nice thing for kids," Patten said. "I really believe when you do good things it comes back to you."