There are people out there who genuinely care about us

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Tony Moon
  • 336th Training Squadron
Sometimes life becomes so routine with everyday customs, we forget why we do our job and what we stand for.

One routine for me was an optometry appointment for my 4-year-old daughter, Caroline, several weeks ago. She has a lazy eye that requires a thick lens and many appointments to go with it.

During probably our fourth appointment, she asked me, "Daddy can we go to the crab restaurant for lunch?" She was referring to a nearby Red Lobster restaurant. I wasn't teaching that day, so I agreed we could go there.

Lunch was very typical - my youngest daughter, Tessa, 2, was naturally wound up and creating havoc for us, the people in the booth next to us and the restaurant staff. She ran from table to table with my battle dress uniform cap on her head. People would look at her, then smile at my wife and me.

I wasn't sure what message they were conveying - "Control your daughter" or "She's really cute" - so I just smiled back and wondered what they thought of this Air Force member and his family.

As I tried to calm Tessa down for the umpteenth time, a waitress from another table approached ours. "Oh no," I thought, "what did Tessa do now?"

I was surprised and touched when the waitress said, "Don't worry about your ticket; it's been taken care of." At first, I didn't know what to say as I looked across the table at my wife and daughter. Then I asked the waitress to point out the person responsible for this act of kindness. She pointed in the direction of a man sitting alone at a booth. He never made eye contact with me.

When he left his booth, I caught up to him and put my hand on his shoulder. As he turned around, I extended my hand in his direction. He smiled while I thanked him and explained that no one had ever done that before.

He shook my hand firmly and glanced at my family. He said with great pride in his voice that his father was a veteran and that he appreciates what military families do for our country.

Our paths may never cross again as he was passing through on his way to Florida, but I'll never forget him. What he did came at a time when I needed to feel appreciated professionally. He never asked about my job or whether I'd been deployed. He just wanted to show there are people out there who genuinely care about us, the freedom we provide and the sacrifices our families make.

Knowing this, I've decided Tessa can run around in my BDU cap anytime she wants.