Monday, August 25, 2008

Buy Lunch for a Soldier and You'll Feed Yourself in More Ways Than One

With all the negative news about the markets and the economy, I thought I would share with you a personal feel good story just to lighten the mood. Recently I was flying from San Francisco to Portland Oregon and I had a three hour layover in Portland airport. It was close to lunch time and having time to kill, I decided to go to one of those slow food restaurants in the airport.

I sat down and the friendly waitress came over and ask for my drink order. She brought me my usual large Diet Coke and then I ordered a salad for lunch. As I was sitting there three soldiers came in and sat down to have lunch. They were, I found out later, traveling from one post to another and Portland was a stop over point. As I sat there I looked at the soldiers and said to my self, " I wonder if I could buy them lunch?" Of course I could buy them lunch, but the real questions was "Should I." I didn't want to pry into the discussion they were having, so I called over the waitress and asked how much their bill was.

She told me the amount of their bill was and I asked her to please put it, plus tip, on my bill. I asked her not to identify me, just say that someone, who was thank full for their service, wanted in a small way, to say thank you to them. The waitress brought over my bill for all of our lunches and I signed the bill. This is the point were my plan went afoul. The waitress went over to the soldiers, pointed to me and I heard her say. "That nice man over there paid for your lunch." So much for my idea of keeping what I had done to myself, she let the cat out of the bag.

When I left the restaurant I stopped by the soldiers table and said thank you for all that they do. These soldiers seemed somewhat shocked, but were very appreciative, airport food is not inexpensive. I went on my way and I felt good about what I had done. The three soldiers, my self, and the rest of the wait staff in the restaurant knew what I had done and that was enough.

As I got home and thought more and more about what I had done I didn't tell my wife or my children about what happened in Portland. I didn't tell them because I didn't want them to know, it was something I wanted for myself. I decided that I felt so good at what I had done that I promised myself that every time I had a meal in an airport I would look for some soldiers to feed. As I thought about the surprise on their faces I wondered if I was the only person in the airport who thought about buying them lunch? More importantly, I wondered how many other Americans across this country think about buying lunch for soldiers?

I know that, many of you who read this blog travel a great deal and are in airports all the time. So, I ask you to consider this request; the next time you are in an airport and about to eat, look around and see if there are any soldiers in the restaurant, if there are, call the waitress over and tell her that you want buy them their lunch. You'll feel better for doing it, and the soldiers will know that Americans like you and me really do care about them and the sacrifices they make for us.

I know all of us don't like the volatility of the stock market, but when you compare the stock market volatility to the life and death nature of those serving in the military, spend a little money and take a solder to lunch. The soldier will really appreciate it, and so will you. Pass this one on!!!

Dan Perkins

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