Lottery winner gives $10k tip to restaurant owner with cancer-stricken daughter

It started with a burger, fries and a little conversation.

It led to an act of kindness that one Saskatchewan man with a daughter who’s facing cancer will likely never forget, according to The Vancouver Sun.

Cliff Luther was working at his restaurant in Chamberlain, Sask., when one of his customers asked for a pen to pay for his burger and fries by cheque. The amount Bob Erb wrote down was $10,000.

Erb laughs when asked about Luther’s reaction to the cheque, and says Luther was “so overwhelmed, so befuddled by it that I ended up having to flip my own burger because he was real emotional.”

The two first met last week, when Erb, a marijuana activist, and his girlfriend, Jenny, were driving from their home in Terrace, B.C., to Yellow Grass, Sask., for the interment of Erb’s father’s ashes in the family plot.

Looking for a quick bite to eat, they stopped by Luther’s restaurant, the Old West Express, about 90 kilometres northwest of Regina.

With Erb decked out in his usual legalize-marijuana gear, the pair got to chatting when Luther asked about the pin on Erb’s jacket.

“He was telling me how he thinks legalizing marijuana is the way to go, you know, which was interesting,” Luther said Monday.

“One thing came to another, and he’s from B.C. and I was telling him how my 25-year-old daughter is out there right now and has just been diagnosed with cancer.”

Speaking from his home Wednesday, Erb admitted that resonated with him a little, having lost his 26-year-old son 4 1/2 years ago.

“He was emotional about it, just as any parent would be in that kind of situation,” Erb said.

Erb said he was also stuck by Luther’s “open-mindedness, and how he was just looking to talk and to learn about things from another perspective.”

And so, a few days later on his drive back home, Erb stopped in again and ordered another meal.

“He asked for a pen and said: ‘Here, you can just take the bill out of that,’ ” Luther recalled.

“It was a cheque for $10,000. He just kind of said ‘If you need to get out there quickly, this will help you.’”

Luther hasn’t cashed the cheque yet, but he needn’t be concerned about it bouncing; Erb made headlines after winning a $25-million lottery jackpot in November and donating a $1-million chunk of that to 420 Day, which promotes the legalization of marijuana.

“It certainly lightens the load for us,” Luther said.

“You kind of think: ‘Why would someone do that for somebody they don’t even know?’

“It’s really lifted my spirits. There are just some really caring people out there.”