Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Holiday Heartwarmer

Posted November 22, 2011

As we approach the holidays I would like to share a heartwarming story from my good friend Jim Crissman. Jim goes out of his way to show members of the military how much he appreciates their service. Sometimes the tables get turned as you are about to read. I would love to hear your comments on this story and feel free to share similar stories.

Yesterday my wife Barb and I were in the Atlanta airport, on the way home from a 7 day cruise, and we stopped in On The Border Mexican restaurant for lunch. I noticed a soldier sitting by himself, so I walked over and introduced myself and asked him if he was shipping out or coming home. I always do this whenever I see a soldier, just to let them know that we appreciate what they do and care about them. Master Sargent Bailey informed me that he was waiting there to take 137 boys back home to Dallas. He said he was in Iraq last year but now is stationed in the US. I offered to buy his lunch, but he was just having some free chips, so I told him how much we appreciate what he and the other boys do and he stood up, shook my hand and said "thank you very much for the support".

I walked back over to my seat and Barb and I began eating our lunch. A few minutes later I noticed that he had left. Then, our waiter came to our table with a napkin with what I thought was a credit card inside, so I assumed it was a mistake, since I had not yet paid. He then unfolded the napkin and we saw a handwritten note from MSG Bailey and a patch (which I have found out is for the National Guard). Then the waiter told us that MSG Bailey had bought OUR lunch and asked that he not tell us who had done it. My wife and I were overwhelmed. I'm attaching a photo of the napkin and the patch, which will get framed and go on our wall at home.

Perhaps you can entice your loyal blog readers to do the same for any soldiers they see, whether it be at the grocery store, a restaurant or the airport. It is heartwarming to see a soldier's face light up when they know that someone cares enough to stop and thank them for putting their lives on the line for the rest of us.

One final thought on this story.... it wasn't until today that I realized the coincidence in MSG Bailey's name - the same as the lead character in It's A Wonderful Life. Let's do our part to help all of the soldiers we see have a better life as well.

Jim Crissman



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  • bugaboo Nov 23, 2011

    Thank you for that wonderful, heart warming story. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • katizs Nov 23, 2011

    Bill - my parents do the same thing for any soldier they see - if they are ahead of my parents in line, they will walk up to them and pay for their order or if they are behind them they will do the smae. They will even do it if one walks in while they are eating. They do it for the same reason as a small way of telling these soldiers thanks for their service.

  • 2thebeach Nov 23, 2011

    That was a great story - and if that soldier's firt name is George. . . .

  • jpittard2 Nov 23, 2011

    Several Christmases ago, my husband and I decided to take a break from shopping and wrapping. We went to Marketfair theater here in Fayetteville. A wounded young soldier and his wive were behind us. I told my husband to pay for their tickets and he gave me that shocked look but did it any way. The look on their faces was priceless! "Merry Christmas!" I said as we walked away. Recently, I was flying from Atlanta to Bloomington, Il. Our flight was about 2 hours late boarding and everyone was getting impatient. When told we could start boarding, a chant started: "The soldier boards first". He was embarrassed but boarded first as those of us in line shook his hand to thank him for our service. Some things don't cost you money but bring smiles to their faces!

  • allen7 Nov 23, 2011

    This story has blessed my day. Thank you for sharing it with all!

  • pulstar40 Nov 22, 2011

    What a great story. There really is so much good in this world - with all the terrible things we hear day after day, we need to be reminded that it truly is a wonderful life.

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Bill Leslie