GREENSBORO, NC – Sitting on a couch in their home, longtime loves, Betty and Bill Withers, both dressed in bright red shirts, sat close to each other and locked fingers.
“We are known to be the hand holding couple because we tend to do that a lot.”
A lot is an understatement.
“We met in 1948,” said Betty.
On June 10th, 1950, the couple married and started a life that would bring decades of joy, 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
66 years later, the couple went to one of their favorite restaurants, Tide’s Inn in Greensboro. Smiling, Betty looked at the waitress she’d seen before and said, “It’s a special occasion for us. I said it’s our 66th wedding anniversary.”
Someone overheard Betty’s comment, and after their meal, the waitress walked over with a note.
“It went on to say that the dinner was on him or her or whoever it was because there was no signature,” said Betty. “I asked the waitress ‘are you kidding me?’ She said ‘no,’ I said ‘can you tell me who did it?’ She said ‘No, I can’t tell you.’”
A stranger paying it forward. Betty said she’s heard of it happening before but never to them. Jessica Cartner, who spent 10 years serving the Withers at Tide’s Inn, was overjoyed to know they received the surprise.
“It’s so wonderful but it actually happens a lot here,” said Cartner.
The note from the thoughtful outsider congratulated the couple for their 66 years of marriage; something most only dream of.
“Man, that’s amazing. I just got out of a 13 year relationship and I thought that was forever. So 66 years that’s definitely a blessing in itself,” Cartner said. “Love is always nice.”
After over six decades, 89-year-old Bill still puts his arm around his younger, 86-year-old wife, kisses her sweetly and became teary eyed p while talking about their anniversary.
“Well, there’s no such thing as a perfect marriage but we never had any real problems either. We’re still in love,” said Bill.
A Navy veteran, Bill retired from the North Carolina Department of Corrections in 1991. The following year, Betty retired from the state Department of Justice. Since then the two watched as their friends lost their husbands and wives. They say said they’re fortunate to live in the home they’ve shared for years; fortunate to still enjoy anniversary dinners.
“We have been around for a while,” laughed Betty.
As for the person who selflessly paid for their anniversary dinner, Betty said, “I just want to say thank you so much because it was such a surprise and a delight and we just thank you so much.”
The pair plan to pass on the good fortune to others.
On the topic of continuing a long, loving marriage, Betty added, “We just turned out to be suited for each other I think. We don’t argue. If something doesn’t go right we try to talk it out. And don’t go to bed mad ever.”
They say they never fell out of love; in fact, they say they fall more deeply every day and they always remember… to hold hands.
Copyright 2016 WFMY