When a Tauranga family went to pay for their meal out at Cobb & Co, a stranger had already taken care of the bill.

Claire, 25, and her partner Jay, 22, dined at Cobb & Co on The Strand two Sundays ago with their children Harper, 6, and six-month-old Arlo.

But before the family had even finished their meals, the bill had already been settled.

The mother, who only wanted to be identified as Claire, said the waitress handed them a receipt with the words "a little act of kindness" on the top.


Claire said the bill would have probably totalled about $100 and she hoped to find the person who paid for their meals to say thank you.

"The restaurant wasn't busy at all maybe three people all together..." she said.

"I briefly remember seeing a dark blonde haired lady in a stripy shirt walk past us and smile as she was walking to the toilet while my fiancé was nursing our son."

Later, Claire had asked the waitress if that was the woman who had paid for their meals and it was.

But Claire said the woman had asked the waitress not to reveal her name and for the receipt to be handed to the family after she had left the restaurant.

Claire said acts of kindness like this made her want to repay the favour.

"I am always paying it forward and I never expect it back. I usually give food to the less fortunate and help others when I can, I wasn't expecting to actually receive something so kind back," she said.

"I will definitely pay it forward again in the hope of starting a chain reaction and getting more people to help others without expecting it back in return."