It's an act of generosity three small-town waitresses in Illinois will likely never forget.

A big-hearted patron at the Boone County Family Restaurant in tiny Caledonia, Ill., left the women each a check for $5,000 after overhearing them talk about their dreams and financial burdens, the Rockford Register Star reported.

The women were serving customers and prepping material behind the counter at the time.

The patron, a middle-aged woman eating an omelet alone, asked them their names and later presented them with the checks.

She left soon after, but not before paying her $9 bill.

One of the waitresses, 21-year-old Sarah Seckinger, was forced to quit school and planned to finish her degree in criminal justice with the money.

"I work two jobs and I have a little boy at home so maybe spend more time with him and do more things with him and get ahead of myself," another waitress, Amy Sabani, told Rockford TV station WIFR. "I hope that one day I have the amount to do the same thing to somebody else."