Indian Giving

Written By: Leonard Falcone

A couple near me was just lamenting the loss of Indian Cove, a restaurant in Hampton Bays, right on the water. I remember it as a beautiful spot: those old timbers and nautical lanterns, the gauzy tangerine light through that colossal arched transom at sunset…ahh. And outside, well, that Captain’s house design and sea view brought me right to Capt. Gregg’s/Mrs. Muir’s house. The food was darn good too. Being there was always such a lovely experience, you scarcely minded how pricey it was.

But what I remember about it most is this:

My buddies Lou, Rob and I were there for dinner some years back. Diagonally across from us, and facing me, was an absolutely beautiful teenage gal. She was with a fella her age, and they both seemed very excited. In fact, she was beaming, and he was nearly bouncing in his seat. Clearly, they were on a date, and I imagined it their first. It kinda’ felt good just to look at the two of them, they were so happy.

They ordered, and before their food came, she excused herself from the table and left. The minute she did, the fella’ pulled a wad of crinkled up bills out of his pocket and started counting them on the table. A lot of singles. Then he started counting change. He looked around to find the waitress, and he looked frantic. He called her over, and I heard him say “I hope it’s not too late…I need to cancel my appetizer.”

She said “ok”, and was gone before the gal got back.

When she returned, the gal switched her seat to sit next to the fella’. I guess he calmed down, because I heard a lot of giggling. And although I couldn’t see her face anymore, I’m sure she was still beaming.

But I knew all was not as well as it sounded. Indian Cove had tapped him out, and they hadn’t even gotten to dessert! Something had to be done.

I called over the waitress, and quietly told her to restore the fella’s appetizer order, and “tell him it’s a promotion or something when you bring it.” I asked her to put his whole tab on my credit card and to add enough for two of their best desserts. I told her not to say a word about it until he asked for his check and, at that time, to tell him that some guy who already left, and was once just like him, paid his bill, and for any dessert they each wanted.

I was there to see the appetizer arrive, and the kids were just giddy about their “luck.” The fella’ was so polite to the waitress, and the gal so happy for him, I felt even better about helping them.

Then we left, and Rob gave Lou a $20 bill in the parking lot. Lou laughed when he got it, called Rob a ‘loser’, and said he knew what I would do the minute I remarked that the kids seemed short of money. I was so caught up in this couple’s delight, and this fella’s plight, I didn’t even hear the bet get made. And there was no ‘loser’ that night.

I don’t know if those kids wound up together. But based just on that one night, I’m ready to bet they did.