While enjoying his breakfast, firefighter Paul Hullings of the Hainesport Fire Department started talking to his waitress, Liz Woodward.
While she heard him speak about the details of his day – putting out a massive fire that broke out in a North Brunswick, New Jersey, warehouse Wednesday morning – she decided to pick up his $15 tab, according to WPVI-TV.
On the back of the check she wrote, "Your breakfast is on me today – Thank you for all that you do; for serving others & for running into the places everyone else runs away from. No matter your role, you are courageous, brave, and strong ... Thank you for being bold and badass everyday! Fueled by fire and driven by courage – what an example you are. Get some rest."
"I started tearing up and it made me feel good – us firefighters are wanted, people care about us," he told the news outlet.
His colleague, Tim Young of the Mount Holly Fire Department, posted the note on Facebook. Before he knew it, it was being shared everywhere.
"I know it's being remarked as this extraordinary act. It's small. It's a little gesture," Woodward told WPVI.
Her simple but generous act inspired the firefighters to pay it forward.
After they learned that Woodward is trying to raise money for her quadriplegic father, who is in need of a wheelchair-accessible van, both Young and Hullings decided to help out.
"If we have to do a fundraiser, we'll do whatever we can to help," said Hullings.