Man pays back restaurant owner's good deed years later

Posted at: 05/09/2013 6:48 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It has been said that the best deeds or gifts are the ones given without agendas or ulterior motives.

When a local restaurant owner opened up his wallet 16 years ago to help out a young patron. He never expected anything in return, but what happened last week left him stunned.

Claus Hjortkjaer owns Le Cafe Miche in downtown Albuquerque. He's spent years in the restaurant business. But it's Valentine's Day 16 years ago that really stands out to him.

A young man was celebrating over a fancy French meal with his sweetheart, but when the bill came, it was more than he had to spend. He asked to speak to the owner Hjortkjaer.

"I'm a little surprised he just didn't run out of the restaurant like some teenagers actually does these days," Hjortkjaer said.

Hjortkjaer said he felt for the young guy. So, to save him the emberassment, he pulled out $40.

"You don't have to worry about paying it back," Hjortkjaer said he told the young man. "You can pay me back whenever - whenever you feel like it and if you don't that's fine too - I made enough money tonight and that's cool."

Since that time Le Cafe Miche closed, but Hjortkjaer reopened last week. And guess who one of the first visitors was?

The now 30-something man, who never forgot that good deed, paid back Hjortkjaer - not with the $40, but rather with $100.

"It's such a great feeling," Hjortkjaer said. "And you shouldn't do it cause it does come back - you should do it cause it makes you feel good at the time."

Hjortkjaer says he was so stunned at the time, he didn't get the chance to catch the man's name.