Immense respect in an ordinary place

I’m working from home today.  Since on these days I set my own hours, I started really early.  By 10am, I needed a break, so I decided to run over to the grocery store to grab some milk.
There was an unusually large number of people in line for 10am on a Tuesday and the checkout ladies were struggling to keep up. By the time I was in line, I was 7 people back.  A couple people in front of me were pretty frustrated with the length of the line and were being pretty vocal about it.

A very old man sort of waddled up behind me with his own gallon of milk.  It was pretty obvious that it was about one gallon of milk too heavy for him.  I turned around and offered to carry it for him, and he very gratefully agreed.

I noticed that his hat said “WWII Veteran” which had me intreged.  Any WWII vet is at least 90 in 2012.

Me: “Wow, you fought World War II?”

Him: “Yup.  Seems like a lifetime ago. I was a Marine in Guadalcanal.”

Me: “Wow. Thank you so much for your service, it was long before I was born but I’m very grateful for your sacrifice for our freedom. Please, go ahead of me. Anyone who fraught WWII gets front of the line privileges in my book”.

Him: “Thank you son. Let me guess, you were Navy right?”

Me: “Yes sir. How did you know?”

As this conversation continued, every single person in front of us stepped aside for this old man. He and I walked to the checkout counter and I put down his milk. He paid with some crumpled up bills, and then the most vocal line complainer carried his milk out to the car for him.

Sometimes extraordinary things happen when you’re doing the most ordinary things. Meeting him made me stand a little taller and the change in heart of a group of people with first world problems made my day.

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