As I mentioned in my last post, last night I went to have a dinner and a beer with a former student, to catch up on how he is doing. As a rule of thumb, I always pay when I have lunch with students. In the past, I've been paid many meals by professors or successful professionals, and I never questioned that. For me, it is a question of who can afford it better. I don't mind people paying for my meal if they much more money than I do, and I will always pay the bill if I invite somebody I know his/her income is very limited. If we are at the same level, then we split.
So last night, I went out and had a sandwich and two beers with my former student. Very low-key. When the bill came, I grabbed it and said: "I always pay for my students' meals. When you are the next CEO of your company, you can pay for mine". He replied: "SP (well, at this point he calls me by my first name), I run into you when I had no idea of what I was doing in life, and thanks to your guidance, you got me a degree. Let me at least get a dinner for you in return". That was the most beautiful thing a student has ever told me. I smiled, I said "You have a point", and handled him the bill. He was happy, and so was I.