By Marsha M. Brown
You know what they say about little ‘acts of kindness’ going a long way? This past week my sweetie pie Billy and I saw one of those kindnesses up front and personal and it meant a whole lot to both of us.
I don’t know about y’all but we sometimes like to get a salad with chili or baked potato for a change at a drive through in Kill Devil Hills. It’s kind of nice to have the option for a healthier and convenient ‘fast food’ and when we do, we just picnic in the truck.
One evening last week when we went to do just that, Billy placed our order then drove around the side of the building to pick it up. While the attendant at the window was making change Billy noticed in his side view mirror that a man in a vehicle behind us was getting out of his car and making his way toward Billy’s side of the truck. What especially caught his attention was that the man was using a walking cane and that he had to literally squeeze in between our truck and the restaurant’s brick wall at which time he approached Billy by tapping him on his arm. At first you can’t help but wonder…what in the world? But, not for long…because this gentleman’s ‘act of kindness’ showed itself quickly. He reached out to shake Billy’s hand and said, “Sir…thank you for your service to our country and God bless you!” Billy smiled and thanked the man for his kind words then he looked at me and to be honest, I was about to bust out crying. The encounter though brief was sweet…unprovoked…spontaneous and thoughtful. It was simple but powerful and it touched both of us.
While the salads and fixings were being passed through the truck window, I kept saying, “Billy that was so nice…that was so sweet…I wonder if he’s a veteran too.” As Billy got his change and started to drive away, I looked back and saw the man’s car which had our American flag and American Bald Eagle stickers on it. Over and over I kept saying how much it meant to me that he had shown (my husband) that respect and over and over Billy nodded his head…he was surprised, he was proud and he was reminded that people do care and that they do remember.
Now folks, I’m not sure if that gentleman was a veteran or not…but to say the least he was patriotic, loyal to our red, white and blue and he recognized that a veteran is…‘the real deal’. He took the time to get out of his vehicle having to use a cane to make his way to ours to show Billy his gratitude. It was a priceless exchange…his brief encounter was incalculable and it made our day. We don’t know who he was (wish we did) and only that his car was red and that it displayed those stickers but I hope to see him again, shake his hand and tell him ’thank you’. If more people were like him and would take the time to remember and honor our veterans, it would be a wonderful thing.
If you’re wondering how the man knew that Billy had served, it was because on the back of Billy’s Toyota Tundra, he has a Vietnam Veteran, a V.F.W. and an American Legion sticker which tells the world who he is and what organizations are important to him. Those stickers say to the world, “I love my country…enough that I was willing to lay down my life and go through Hell to defend her just like all my brothers and sisters that sacrificed beside me. I am an American through and through and very proud of it!”
While it’s understandable that not everybody wants to affix stickers on their vehicle window or bumper, it’s not a bad idea to do so if you’re proud of what you stand for or have been through in life. They also tell the world something very special about the person behind the wheel. Just like when a vet wears a hat that announces they are a WWII, Korean, Vietnam or other conflict veteran or when the emblem displays the branch in which they served embroidered on it…you know at first encounter that they deserve our praise and gratitude. If you’re a veteran reading this ‘GIG LINE’ and you don’t have something to wear on your head, on your back or on your vehicle to let the world know your honor, just at least think about it. Locally at the shopping center where the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter Thrift Shore is in Kitty Hawk, you’ll find Red’s Carolina Outfitters (formerly called Red’s Army Navy). There you can find a good assortment of bumper/window stickers, T-shirts, hats and military type hat pins from all our branches of service. Besides that, “Ed” the proprietor is a sweetheart who’s very devoted to acknowledging and promoting veterans. If he doesn’t have an item in stock that you’re looking for, ask him if he can order it for you. If it’s an option…he will. If you have a question before you make the trip to Kitty Hawk, you can call Ed at (252) 261-6681 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WOW-WEE…big things are coming for Dare County veterans this fall! Between late September, Veterans Day and the following week new and exciting activities and events will be taking place, so keep your pen/paper or cell phone calendar on standby…I can’t wait to tell you all about them! Yippee and hot diggity dog! The simple truth is that all of us who love you can’t wait!
Important: If you know veterans in your workplace who don’t have but want to get their Dare County Veteran I. D. Card, please give us a call a few days – a week in advance and Billy and/or I will go to your job site and issue your staff, employees and or associates their ‘Card’. All they have to do is bring their DD-214 showing ‘Honorable’ discharge (just for us to see – we don’t need a copy to keep) and their local Driver’s License. The process takes only minutes and they’ll get their ‘Veteran I. D. Card’ created/issued by the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council (Billy and I are Council members) entitling them to discounts ranging from 10% to as much as 20% at 32 local businesses on the Outer Banks. As you know, we’ve been issuing the ‘Card’ weekly for over a year now at the Dare County Administrative Building; the American Legion/V.F.W. Post in Kill Devil Hills; at various Ace Hardware locations; at the Fessenden Center in Buxton and at the Baum Center in K.D.H. but we want all of our veterans to have their ‘Card’ and save money, so please call us to set a date and time to help your local co-worker veteran friends get theirs. My cell: (252) 202-2058 – don’t be bashful…we embrace an opportunity to get the “Card’ in our veterans hands.
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud! You, my friends are the ‘crème de le crème…the best of the best…the ultimate…the men and women we look up to, admire and love! Please call us if we can be of help or refer you to various veteran sources of help…OK? And folks…please join, transfer your memberships here and by all means support our local V.F.W. Post 10950 and our American Legion Post 26…why? They needyou and you need them too because in this world we all need each other…don’t we? We love you all. God bless you and stay tuned…