By: Jen Russon
An afternoon of Italian food shared among students, teachers, and friends turned out to be priceless when a random act of kindness surprised the large group during their field trip to Pizza Time restaurant.
Teresa Marrero, Assistant Director of Atlantis Academy, said she took her middle schoolers to the Coral Springs restaurant to teach them about budgeting, calculating sales tax and discounts.
Weeks ahead of the field trip, Marrero collaborated with the school’s life skills and job placement teacher to also work on social skills, like ordering and table manners.
“I thought it was a unique way to teach them not to use their cellphones at the table, how to politely request a refill – that sort of thing,” said Marrero.
Describing their lunch as a “beautiful experience” from start to finish, Marrero confirmed they were a party of 15, all students except for herself and a teacher and friend named Noriel Rodriguez, from Miami.
The group was very excited for the lunch on February 6, and when the big day finally came, they were all a bit distracted and barely remembered the middle-aged couple — a man and a woman, sitting nearby.
“I knew it would take us a while to figure our totals, adding tax and tip, so I requested the check immediately upon receiving our food. To our surprise, the check was already paid,” said a shocked Marrero.
She speculated it had to have been that couple, eating at the table next to them.
Their server, Erica Cohen, confirmed it was definitely those two who had paid the bill, and passed on the couple’s wishes: they did not want recognition for covering a bill that amounted to around $215.
“She [Marrero] was crying, she was so happy,” said Cohen. “She made a speech to the kids about how good people can be to one another.”
Cohen, who grew up in Coral Springs but now lives in Coconut Creek, said she’s been waiting tables at Pizza Time for almost two years, and this was perhaps the most heartwarming experience with her employer to date.
“Since Ms. Marrero brought her kids in, I’ve had one of her students return and recognize me. He shouted, ‘hey, that’s the waitress who took care of my class,” recalled Cohen.
Cohen added many, many diners come and go from Pizza Time, so the couple remains a mystery.
“I wish Ms. Marrero luck in finding out who they were,” she said.
Marrero, who has been on the case all week, intends to find out. Until then, she also commends Pizza Time for their gracious accommodations.
“From start to finish, they welcomed us and treated our students with kindness and respect,” she said.
Should the couple wish to come forward privately, they may directly contact Teresa Marrero.