Social media and technology has undoubtedly helped countless people connect with one another. But sometimes our obsession with technology and our own social media feeds can get in the way of recognizing the beauty in this world.
It can be quite refreshing when you put down the phone and just observe great things happening before your own eyes.
And, if you’re really lucky, you could even spy something like the heartwarming exchange one woman saw recently.
Alana Ruthann was busy on her phone when she heard something that made her look up.
On March 17, Iowa-resident Alana Ruthann was at her local WalMart getting a few last minute things for St. Patrick’s Day. She was checking her phone, as she usually does, engrossed in the wonder of social media, when something made her look up.
“I heard an older man’s voice in confusion declare, ‘wait, what is happening? What are you doing?!’” Ruthann wrote in a Facebook post.
There were two men in front of her: an elderly man wearing a veteran’s baseball cap and a younger man in front of him. Unsure of what was going on, Ruthann began to pay closer attention.
“A younger man in front of the older gentleman responded, “Sir, I’m paying for your items because you paid by serving my country and I’m grateful for you,” Ruthann wrote.
The whole exchange took 20 seconds, but when it was over, the mark it left endured.
Unsurprisingly, the older man was shocked. He fumbled with his gloves, unable to contain his emotion. Ruthann, as well, was touched by their very brief encounter and snapped a few impromptu photos of this young man’s kind gesture.
“Just as quickly as he scanned his card and paid for the items, that young man said another thank you and quickly left,” Ruthann wrote.
It took only 20 seconds, but this young man’s act of kindness left an indelible mark on the veteran.
“The veteran was still in shock as he was handed his items he asked, ‘What do I do now?’” Ruthann wrote. “To which the cashier responded with a warm smile, ‘You have a good day!’”
The old veteran did just that. He straightened up and took his items, proud that someone recognized his service, and left the store.
This young man’s act of kindness inspired Ruthann to share her story on social media.
There I was caught in the rush of life yesterday at Walmart Ankeny. Annoyed I was standing in a line, God forbid I wait…
Ruthann was deeply touched by what she just encountered. The young man took it upon himself to do a good deed; not for fame, or recognition, but out of respect for this veteran’s sacrifice on his country’s behalf.
“It was that moment I realized I had TWO heroes in line in-front of me,” Ruthann wrote in a Facebook post.
When she came home, Ruthann posted the photos and the story on Facebook. Her post quickly went viral garnering nearly 32,000 reactions. People all over the United States were inspired and shocked by this young man’s act of kindness.
For Ruthann, the reason why this story resonated was obvious.
“That 20-second interaction didn’t just change the veteran’s day—it changed my day, as well as that cashier’s—because that 20 seconds showed us by looking up and slowing down—life is pretty beautiful and surely we can find something to be grateful for,” Ruthann wrote.