Lee Ballantyne was dining alone for the first time last week, after his wife of 43 years died of cancer on Dec. 30. While having dinner at Cicco's Ristaurante in Barrie, Ballantyne spotted a younger couple that reminded him of his wife Carol and himself. Ballantyne told the restaurant he wanted to pay for the couple's dinner before writing them a note on a napkin. "You don't know me but my beautiful wife of 43 years died last week," Ballantyne wrote. "You remind me of us many years ago. Please allow me to buy your dinner. Enjoy! It will put a smile on Carol's face and make me happy for now." Since then, a picture of the napkin has been posted on the website Reddit, and has gone viral online. Ballantyne didn't want to talk on camera, but says his son Jason has been handling the attention he's been getting. "I think dad's gesture seems to resonate with a lot of people because it's an act of love and an act of charity in a time of sadness," Jason told CTV Barrie. Jason said he hopes his father's story encourages others to take a moment to tell their parents how much they mean to them. Carol was born in Kirkland Lake, Ont., and was 62 years old when she died. She married Ballantyne, her high school sweetheart, in 1970. The couple had three sons and five grandchildren. Lindsay Weiss, owner of the restaurant, said Ballantyne's kind gesture brought her and the server to tears. "We both went to the kitchen, my server and I, looked at each other and went to tears," she told CTV Barrie. And she says the couple were "more than grateful" when she told them of Ballantyne's offer. Ballantyne told CTV Barrie that the couple have since called to thank him, and offered to take him out to dinner to repay his kind gesture.
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