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Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Value Meal...

A little background...I live in what I like to call a military-thick-area. My husband honorably served an enlistment in the Marine Corps. He deployed to Iraq. We lived on a Marine base for 3 years. I never ever in my life thought I would be one, but I was/am a military wife. It is a "hat" that stays with you. I can't get the patriotism out of my blood and it's ok, I like it. I am proud of my husband and the many people that I have met over the years and am honored to know all of them.

   With that being said....there is a man who I have seen all over the place in the past 6 years that I have lived in this place. I've seen him walking along with local parades, I've seen him walking around the sidewalks downtown. He is always walking and his walk is very distinct because he limps. I gather that he is probably in his 60's, but it is hard to say as some of his teeth are missing, he looks a little ragged and his clothes are shabby. Regardless of all of these things, he is cheery, always saying hello to passerby and smiling. About six months ago, I saw him walking while I was driving and mentioned to a friend next to me that I see him all over the place. She said "Oh yes, I see him alot also, he is a disabled veteran and he is homeless but he is always very cheery." 
   First off, I don't understand how that happens when this man served for his country...especially in a military town. But that is a rant for another day...
     Fast forward to this afternoon....I decided to venture out late, in dire need to get away from my crazy dogs & get some quick fresh winter air for me and the little...perhaps do some leisurely shopping. 
      I went to a couple stores and at the last one, Avery began to fuss a wee bit so I decided to head for home. Sooo, I am walking out the door, trying to keep Avery busy and also hurry because a man on a cell phone is on my heels and I see this man near the entrance. It is the man I was talking about earlier, and he smiles and says "Hello everybody" and I say "Hi" and smile and keep heading for the parking lot. My car is parked close by and as I am taking Aves out of the cart, he approaches me but keeps his distance and says "Um, ma'am could you treat a disabled veteran to a 2.99 value meal at McDonalds so I can eat some dinner?" I tell him that I'm so sorry but that I never carry cash, which is the total truth. I hardly ever have anything but change and I knew that I didn't have much but I also had my hands full with a one year old...
      He says" Oh thats ok, thank you ma'am, God Bless you", smiles and he hobbles back to the store entrance. I got into my car and could barely hold back my tears. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, even if you dont understand it at the time. If I didn't have a one year old that was getting hungry and tired, I would have driven to McDonald's and brought back a value meal to this man. I know that it is likely that he asked everyone that he saw near the store, but what if everyone said no?
     As I shed some tears on the drive home, I made a decision that the next time that I see him walking, I will go and buy him that value meal and drop it off wherever I find him. 
         I feel that I owe him that 2.99 value meal. 
     The irony of this experience being about a "value meal" isn't lost on fact, now the term has taken on new meaning. Whenever I hear it, I will think of this one minute exchange. I thank God for the life that I have and for the situations that he puts us in at times to remind us to be grateful, to be helpful, to be mindful and aware of others. I turned this man down and he still was polite. He is homeless and hungry and he left me with a "God Bless You"...
         I don't know this man's story (though personally, I would love to hear it). One thing that I'm willing to bet...that his limp comes from a war wound....for that alone, we all owe him a value meal.

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