Veterans Day was this weekend, a day to pay respect to those who served. While most of us only think of the holiday as a long weekend, some people really get into the spirit and go out of their way to do something for a veteran.
But one couple in Lacey, Washington, went above and beyond—and left one veteran speechless.
It was the first Veteran’s Day for Army Specialist Scott Stranne, a young man who just served his first tour in Afghanistan.
When Stranne returned home this month, it was the first time he had seen his friends and family since he was deployed in March.
It was a happy homecoming for the young vet, who spent time fixing up cars with his dad and reuniting with his motorcycle group.
The 20-person group had missed their friend during his service, and were glad to have him back in town.
“Him being one of the main people in the group and leaving—it was pretty hard,” Stranne’s friend Kyle Davis, told CBS News. “We still tried to include him, calling him on Facebook video chat. He was in very, very, very dangerous areas.”
When Stranne returned, it was just like old times.
They didn’t do anything too special to welcome Stranne home—instead, they decided to go for a ride and hit up their regular lunch spot, Applebee’s.
“When he came back I was like, ‘Let’s meet at our spot,’” Davis added.
On Thursday, the group got a table and caught up with Stranne, who felt good to be home.
“It was like a welcome home thing, so I could see everyone,” Stranne told CBS News. “Some new people in the group asked me about Afghanistan.”
The conversation was flowing and the noise levels were increasing.
The large group of bikers was seated right next to a dining couple. Stranne admits they weren’t exactly the quietest group.
“We were being very loud,” he told KOMO News. “Just like a good group of friends.”
Of course, its all fun—until the check arrives. The group was handed a bill for nearly $300.
But as they were about to start splitting up the check, their server came over again with some stunning news—from the couple seated next to them.
“This couple wanted to anonymously donate $300 toward your meal.”
Everyone was shocked. Not only did these strangers pick up their entire tab, they did so completely anonymously—they had already left the restaurant when the bill arrived.
“I got chills; it was just awesome,” Stranne told CBS News. “An instant sense of gratitude overcame me.”
The Applebee’s manager was as stunned as they were by the couple’s generosity.
Lacey Applebee’s general manager Natasha Conners vowed to keep their identity a secret as requested, but she praised the couple’s generosity—she had never seen anything quite like it.
“I was shocked. I mean, that’s a lot of money,” Conners told KOMO News. “I could see someone buying a meal or a drink, but $300 is quite a bit, it paid for the whole party.”
Stranne had never seen anything like it, either. Even on Veterans Day weekend, he never could’ve imagined someone doing a random act of kindness on this scale.
“We never expected anything. We greatly, greatly appreciate what they did,” Stranne told CBS.
“At a time like this, it gives everyone a new faith in humanity. There’s still good out there.”
While the couple apparently wanted to remain anonymous, Stranne couldn’t let the good deed go unnoticed—he posted the story on Facebook, hoping he could track down the kind people and thank them in person.
“We never got the opportunity to properly thank them,” he told KOMO.
But even if he never knows who picked up his tab, the impact of the kindness will last a lifetime.