Written by Dawn Garcia
My family and I went out for dinner at Olive Garden in Lincoln. Of course, on a Sunday after church, Olive Garden is pretty busy. We were tucked into a corner, seated around a round table next to two younger men dressed in camoflauge from shoulder to toe. A woman of the same age sat with them.
Soon after our waitress brought our food, the manager walked over to the table where the men in military uniform sat and announced that a gentleman (a regular customer) wanted to pay for their dinner. It was his way of saying thank you for the service the men and the military have done for our country.
The emotional person that I am, I felt tears slide down my cheek. It was a very moving moment! The men graciously accepted and asked the manager where the man was so they could thank him.
It was also a teachable moment. My kids were like, “wow, that was really nice.” My husband and I told our children what the military do for us and our country. Although I honestly don’t want my children to ever serve in the military, I want them to be proud of those who do. I come from a long line of men who have served our country and I am proud of the sacrifice they made for my future. I am also indebted to the many men and women who serve today. That kind man told the untold story to all those around us that day at Olive Garden. Thank you to our military!
It also taught me a little bit about myself. I have always wanted to be one of those kind of people that give anonymously. I give a lot of my time through volunteer but I am a bit of a tightwad when it comes to spending money. There never seems to be enough to go around. But every time I drive through a drive thru, I think about paying for the people’s order in the car behind me or offer to buy a candy bar for a cashier who checks out my groceries. Unfortunately, I never act on those thoughts.
When I witnessed the generosity of strangers at Olive Garden on a Sunday after church, however, it changed my view of how the world works. There are still several generous people giving from the heart, giving to the less fortunate (which I do see from volunteering with the homeless), the military, the single mother or father. People are helping others, paying it forward.
It has given me the incentive to pay for the person’s meal behind me in the drive-thru and grab an extra candy bar before checking out at the grocery store. You never know what that person is going through or how you can make their day by one simple act of kindness.
Have you given anonymously like the man at Olive Garden?