These days, people are often being told ''There's no such thing as a free meal''.
But yesterday, the old adage got turned on its head.
A man, who asked to remain anonymous, left $440 at the Robbies Bar and Bistro in South Dunedin on Monday, with specific instructions that it be used to pay for the lunch of the first 40 pensioners who came through the door yesterday.
Manager Joy Jones said the bistro held a pensioners' lunch every day, where people could get a two-course meal for $11.
She believed the money was left by a man who liked to play poker at the bar on Tuesday nights.
''We know him, but we don't know what his name is.
''Out of the blue, he just wanted to give us this money for the first 40 pensioners through the door today.
''We don't know why. He just said he wanted to do it.''
She believed the man might have been sharing a windfall he had at the poker table.
''It's nice to know there's still caring people out there in the world, where there's such a lot of hostility and non-caring people.''
When Ian Robinson (82), of Mornington, sat down with friends for lunch yesterday and was told his roast pork meal would be free, his mouth dropped open.
''I think it's a marvellous gesture. It's not very often these days that you get something for free.
''I have to find out who this guy is so I can put him on my Christmas card list.''
Mr Robinson said he would put the money he had saved towards this week's grocery bill.