When Lou Zezoff, a 74-year-old Vietnam veteran, stopped at a Cracker Barrel with Annette, his wife, he wasn’t expecting to end the meal in tears.
Lou makes a habit of wearing his cap, with “US Navy Vietnam Veteran” printed on it, whenever he goes out.
It was this cap that caught the eyes of five young men sitting near to him as they waited for their food in the Granite City, Illinois establishment.
As Lou and his wife were eating, one of the men approached their table. Lou automatically stood up, noting that he and his friends looked like servicemen due to their haircuts.
He wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but then the young man extended his hand for a handshake and profusely thanked Lou for his service to the country.
It was a gesture that definitely surprised Lou, who hadn’t expected something like this to happen in a random restaurant.
But that wasn’t all – the other four men came over to continue thanking him.
They were all Marines and wanted to make that night one that Lou would never forget.
The young men eventually went back to their seats, and Lou and Annette finished their food.
They called for the check, and that’s when the waiter told them that the bill had already been paid for by the young Marines.
On the receipt were the messages “Semper Fi” and “Oorah”.
Shocked, Lou went back over to their table and told them that he knew they likely didn’t make a lot of money due to their jobs.
He said their thanks was more than enough and they didn’t have to pay for his food. But the Marines insisted and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
They truly wanted him to know how much they valued him.
After a while, the Marine men planned to leave. But before they did, the young men went back up to Lou and his wife.
They all shook his hand and gave him a hug each, one at a time.
Lou couldn’t help feeling tears well up in his eyes at their simple but truly thoughtful gesture that showed how much they appreciated him and respected his sacrifices.
All around him, the diner had fallen silent, and they were all staring and watching the touching and moving events unfold.
Then, lastly, one of the Marine’s gave Lou and extremely sharp and formal salute, and all five men turned and left the establishment.
Breathless, Lou turned to his wife, who told him he should probably sit down and collect himself after such an amazing, heartwarming occurrence – one that she, too, was still reeling from.
It wasn’t long from then when the five Marines were located by a news station.
They were private first class Marines and, when asked why they had done this for Lou, they replied that it was just the right thing.
He fought for them and for their country, and it was now their turn to return the sacrifice.
Servicemen and servicewomen truly deserve compassion, respect, and gratitude for all that they have done for their nation!