Being a veteran is not an easy job but one day, Vietnam veteran Lou Zezoff had a moment that made it all worth it.
Zezoff was out at Cracker Barrel with his wife, where they thought they were just going to have a nice, casual dinner and then go back home. As soon as they walked into the restaurant, he noticed a group of five young men with military hairstyles sitting around a big red table.
He acknowledged them and thought nothing more of it. Then he continued to sit down at another table with his wife and order their food.
But right before their food was brought to their table, something surprising happened.
“The young man got up, walked over, put his hand out, shook my hand. I stood up and he thanked me for my service. He turned around and walked back to the table and immediately, a second young man came to my table, I stood up, he shook my hand and he says, ‘I wanna thank you for all five of us,'” Zezoff recalls.
Then the veteran told the young man that he really appreciated it and wished him and the four other men good luck with their service. Then the young man went back and Zezoff and his wife finished their meal.
But it didn’t end there.
As the veteran tried to flag the waitress down for their bill, they were interrupted once again.
“He waves the check and says, ‘This is your lucky day. These young men have just bought your evening meal.’ It’d really taken me by surprise so I immediately got up and went over and put my arm around one of the guy’s shoulders and said, ‘Guys you don’t have to do this, I know being in the military doesn’t make a lot of money. The acknowledgment was more than enough. Thank you so much,'” Zezoff said.
But the five men insisted on paying his bill — they were very enthusiastic about it, actually. They wanted to show Zezoff just how much they appreciated him.
It doesn’t even end there. This is where Zezoff really began to well up with tears.
“I started to pick my jacket up… And they filed to the front of my table, stood in line, and each one of them — again — put his hand out, shook my hand, thanked me, hugged me, and walked to my right. Second one did the same thing,” he said.
“By the time the third one came up, I was almost a basket case by then,” he added.
Zezoff goes on to explain how when you’re at a restaurant you can usually hear some chatter in the distance but during this moment, everyone was watching. The place had gone almost silent in disbelief.
The fifth and final man came up and gave Zezoff the sharpest salute and then they all exited the restaurant. The veteran was welling up with tears at that point.
It’s so incredible to see young people pay so much respect to their elders. It’s true that veterans have such a strong bond. It’s beautiful to see.
Watch Zezoff tell his story below.
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