A couple’s meal was paid for due to an act of kindness and a demonstration of love.
Emerson Evelhoch of North Middleton Township, Pennsylvania has to make certain accommodations when eating at restaurants with his wife, Kathy. Although Kathy has "always been a good cook," according to Emerson, the couple has been eating out more frequently since she obtained a grave diagnosis.
"Her last job was working at the high school library, and she couldn't put two journals in order and that's when we start pursuing the disease," he told WHP News.
Kathy was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease when she was 56 years old.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 200,000 Americans have early onset Alzheimer’s. Since medical professionals do not typically look for this disease in younger patients, obtaining a diagnosis can be difficult since symptoms may be mistakenly attributed to stress or other disorders.
Emerson retired in order to tend to his wife’s needs.
"She's always been my best friend," he said. "She still is. I still tell her things."
The couple frequently goes to Chen’s Asian Restaurant in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Emerson needs to prepare his wife’s meal so she can properly chew and swallow her food.
"The husband was cutting every piece of the meat in small pieces so [he] could feed her by fork,” recalled Jay Chen, the owner of the restaurant. "It was very touching."
Another couple noticed Emerson’s actions that March 16 night. When the server gave him the receipt toward the end of the meal, there was a note informing the caregiver that their meal had been paid for.
"We noticed your loving care of your wife," the note read. "Being a caregiver can be hard, so we wanted your dinner tonight to be our treat. God bless."
Emerson is grateful for this small blessing in an otherwise hectic life, and for the reminder that many people are indeed willing to look out for one another.
"Life is stressful," he said. "This is stressful. It was the perfect time for me to just stop and take a breath and remember how many nice people there are."