Just the Other Day: Three Airmen

I stopped at the McDonald’s in Las Vegas, Nevada to grab a bite to eat and get a large ice tea for the road. I wasn’t far from the Nellis Air Force Base.


Three young people came in, two guys, one gal, in military camouflage fatigues. They got in line behind me.


I checked the thermometer in the van before I came inside: it was 73° and beautiful. I commented to them what a nice day it was, but I am aware they also go out to train in those uniforms with long sleeves, long pants, hot boots and more (not to mention the weight of full gear) when it’s over 100°.


I told them I appreciate what they do and I wanted to get their lunch. They all three insisted that wasn’t necessary, but I told them, “It’s too late. I already told the cashier I was getting your lunch.” One of them explained they were getting lunch for seven people. I still insisted on treating them.


We shared a little conversation. They asked my name and I gave them my card. While I waited for my order to come, I went to get my ice tea. One of the guys tried to swipe his card to pay, but I got there and swiped mine first. (I was quite impressed with my cat-like reflexes and speed.)


Anyway, they thanked me, one saying it was nice that I was “paying it forward.” I thought about that: anytime we support the men and women who serve our country, we ARE paying it forward in a big way! Paying it forward isn’t always with money. There are lots of ways to support our troops that don’t cost anything.


I went to a table and sat down. As the three were leaving, they stopped by my table. Each one shook my hand and thanked me again – in return, I thanked them. Their service to our country is greater – far greater than my small gesture to them.


As they were each shaking my hand, I honestly felt safer, knowing these three wonderful young people are there to protect our country.


May God bless, and protect them – always.