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An anonymous recovering addict pays $77 IHOP breakfast bill for overworked EMTs

Elise Solé
A recovering addict picked up a $77 check for a group of EMTs at IHOP. (Photo: Getty Images)

A recovering addict picked up a $77 bill for a group of EMT workers, and the first responders say they feel “blessed.”

According to a story published by Patch, six members of the Toms River First Aid Squad in New Jersey stopped for breakfast at IHOP Friday morning after working the previous night. When they were presented with a $77 check, they received a pleasant surprise: Not only was their bill paid in full, it came with a sweet note that read, “Paid, thank you for all you do! Have a great day!”

It was signed simply, “Recovering addict.”

An IHOP server who waited on the squad told Yahoo Lifestyle that the table was “shocked” by the offer. “A lady who did not want to be identified approached me and asked if she could pay their bill,” he said. “The table was so grateful.”


To the woman who paid our tab today at IHOP, thank you so much for paying for our breakfast. This gift was amazingly…

Posted by Toms River First Aid Squad on Friday, July 20, 2018


Per Patch, squad captain Alyssa
Golembeski, along with team members Keri Murphy, Michael Dolch, Robert Tully, Patrick Masterson, and Larry Rosenberg were the recipients of the thoughtful gesture. Later that day, the team posted a photo of the note on their company Facebook page.

In response, some Facebook users asked the EMTs to “pay it forward” with a like-minded act, and a recovering addict expressed gratitude for the first responders that played an important role in saving her life.

“To the woman who paid our tab today at IHOP, thank you so much for paying for our breakfast,” read the Facebook caption. “This gift was amazingly thoughtful and brought our table of tired EMTs to tears. We are so blessed to be able to serve you and everyone else who lives and works in the greater Toms River area. Good luck on your journey of recovery!” 

The squad also gave a nod to Patch for sharing their story, alluding to the possibility that members had connected with the sweet woman. “Thank you to the Toms River Patch for helping us reach out to the anonymous woman who paid our bill this morning!” 

Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach a representative from Toms River First Aid Squad for comment. On Monday, Golembeski told NJ.com, “EMTs can eat, so we racked up like a $77 bill. It was just a reminder that there is still so much good in the world. The note and paying for our breakfast. … We are a boisterous bunch, but that brought our table to complete silence. We were practically in tears.”

“Even though it may not have been my crew or my EMTs that were there when she was an active addict, she still took the time to do that for us,” she said. “I really want her to know how grateful we all are to her and how much we hope she continues on her road to recovery.” 

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