In a lot of ways, the Internet is a cesspool of trolls, cyberbullies, offensive celebrities, and overzealous Yelpers running amok, spewing hatred with relative impunity. But once in awhile, spontaneous kindness emerges out of the bowels of the Internet hate machine and saves a dying neighbourhood restaurant.
This unlikely scenario is exactly what happened with Whitbie's Fish & Chips in Lethbridge, Alberta, a struggling shop that seemed doomed to shutter until Colin Ross, a laid-off oil patch worker, walked in one Sunday morning to nurse a hangover with their halibut special.
In return for saving him from his hangover, Ross decided to take to Facebook to write a very positive and heartfelt review of Whitbie's. In it, he urged locals eat there before it was too late, insisting that John McMillan, the restaurant's owner, was a "a jem, real classy stand-up guy" and a "hardworking gentleman."
Within days of Ross's post, Whitbie's Fish & Chips began filling up with customers eager to try the hangover-curing halibut special and help resurrect what appeared to be a dying business. The initial post eventually ended up getting more than 8,700 shares on Facebook as well as national and international media attention, with lineups at the door, as reported by Ross himself.
This unsolicited act of internet kindness ended up benefiting not only the fish and chips shop, with 3,000 or so visitors per week (that's about 150 litres of tartar sauce) since the post, but its author as well. "I've been offered a few different things," Ross told the CBC. "Some karma things, like Toyota offered me an oil change and I had a guy offer to give me my own show on the radio so, you know, I've had some people passing the karma buck my way."
Ross told the CBC that he also received free passes to a local trampoline park, an MBA scholarship offer from a university in Scotland, and kind words from a vet with PTSD that made him cry.
Who says nothing good can come of a hangover?