Sunday, July 10, 2011

Magical Moment 521, "Random Acts of Appreciation"

Once while on active duty, I went to a beach that charged $10 per car. I stopped at the toll both, holding a $20 bill out my window, when I remembered to ask, "Do you give any kind of military discount?"
The man in the booth was older. He had white hair and was wearing a security uniform. He reached for my money, but as soon as I asked that question he handed it back. 
"Yes. Well, no. We don't officially, but I'm going to," he said.
I sat with my foot on the brake, waiting for him to tell me what the discount might be, maybe $5 instead? 
"Just go on through, please."
Surprised and grateful, I thanked him and drove through. 

Another time, while in uniform, I drove my sister to the airport on my way into work. We stopped at McDonalds for breakfast, and after we ordered at the register, a man stepped up beside me and said, "I'd like to pay for the Lieutenant's meal please."

More recently, my husband was on his way to drill for the Army Reserves. He was in uniform when he stopped at a toll booth on the New Jersey Turnpike. The man taking the money was from a country Eddie couldn't decipher, but he said in broken English, "You are a hero. Go through. No pay."

Things like this happened so many times, I can't recall each specific one, yet I have not forgotten them either. Strangers approach service members on the street and shake their hands. Soldiers are welcomed home at airports. And random acts of kindness are shown daily to the Armed Forces. It makes me proud that our country is so behind our military, despite what their personal politics may be. 

Some argue that it's out of guilt, and we are over-compensating for not being more involved. I say, who cares what the reason is? If buying a $3 value meal for a soldier is an act of easing a conscience, or one of true appreciation, it's something that shows that soldier, 'We see you. We know that what you do, deserves recognition.' And all those little things add up.

What you can do:
-Adopt a Soldier: Soldier's Angels
-Get involved with Troops and their Families: Joining Forces


texwisgirl said...

oh this was wonderful. gave me shivers of glee. :)

ds said...

When my brother-in-law returned from his first tour in Iraq, and transferred from military to commercial transport, the entire plane stood up and applauded him and his buddies.
We can never do enough to show our gratitude to everyone who is willing to put his or her life on the line, daily. Thank you.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Our soldiers (you both included!) Deserve way more recognition and compensation that they get!
We saw several on our travels recently and I really wanted to hug them all. Then I thought, they might not like that.
Great post! So glad there are kind hearted people out there...especially the gentleman who is not even born in this country.

Robin Malherbe said...

I love those random acts of kindness. And showing them to someone one doesn't know seems to mean more than when done for those one already loves...

Linda said...

I was a young adult during the Vietnam war and saw our soldiers from that war treated despicably. Many of them could never overcome the bitterness they felt at the treatment they received. It may have affected them even more than their service in the war itself. I'm so glad that the tide seems to have turned in that regard.

For a couple of years, my husband drove a shuttle van between our city and our state capitol a couple of hours away. He would never accept a tip from a soldier and never failed to express his gratitude to them for their service.

Deborah said...

This really made me smile, wonderful!

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

These are wonderful examples of appreciation. I am so happy that the Military is now appreciated

Stephanie Faris said...

I don't think it's guilt...I think people honestly want to find a way to thank the men and women who serve our country. I remember coming back from England and being stuck in an airport for four or five hours. There were two men coming back from Iraq and they sat quietly in a corner, never once complaining while everyone around them whined. Finally, once we were on the plane, someone asked them how long they'd been traveling. TWO DAYS. And yet they sat silently. That reminded me how spoiled Americans have become, that just a slight delay in an air-conditioned airport with restaurants and luxuries all around can cause us to throw fits...