Cynthia Tipton was having dinner with her family at a restaurant outside St. Louis when her son had a meltdown.
Noland, 10, has high-functioning autism, and his older sister Sophie had been lightly teasing him, Tipton told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
He began to scream and cry as they ate at Bandana's Bar-B-Q in Rock Hill, Missouri. Tipton responded by kneeling beside him, rubbing his back and whispering in his ear until he calmed down, she wrote in a Facebook post.
She was feeling self-conscious, even embarrassed, so when the waitress walked over, she thought perhaps someone had complained and they were going to be asked to leave.
Their server did bring a message from another diner, but it was one that Tipton never expected.
"We were very fortunate that nobody in the restaurant complained or gave us dirty looks," she wrote. "So imagine my overwhelming surprise when our waitress came over and told us another family paid our bill."
Not only had the anonymous family paid for their dinner, but they left a heart-warming note of encouragement on the receipt.
“Hi! We couldn’t help but notice what a great mother you are and what a beautiful family you have. God bless," the anonymous good Samaritans had scrawled at the top.
Tipton recently opened an indoor gym for children on the autism spectrum and their families, and wrote that striving for acceptance like this is one of the many reasons she began that venture.
"I am always sensitive to how others judge how I am parenting and what they are thinking about my son's behaviors," she wrote, adding that she will be paying the good deed forward. "I encourage all of us to find even simple ways of acknowledging the hard work of all parents."
"This family didn't even know our circumstances but yet were so compassionate," Tipton told KDSK. "It just really touched us."