Once A Marine, Always A Marine

| San Rafael, CA, USA | Friendly | November 11, 2017

(Editor’s Note: To commemorate Veteran’s Day, we’re resurfacing this story. It was originally posted on August 2, 2014.)

(I am a bookseller working toward a teaching credential. While I am not exactly poor, my pay is not stellar, and it is occasionally a stretch for me to manage loans and bills. While walking home from work, I see a middle-aged man asking for money on the corner. He appears to be a veteran. I scrounge around in my purse for change and only find a penny, but I walk up to him, anyway.)

Me: “Hey. I’m one of those jerks who doesn’t carry a lot of cash. So, this is all I have. I hope it helps.”

(I press the penny into the palm of the veteran’s hand. He looks at me. When he speaks, I can tell that he’s not all there, but he sounds genuine.)

Veteran: “You know what? If that’s all you have, then take this.”

(To my amazement, he presses a one dollar bill into my palm. I shake my head and try to give it back to him.)

Me: “No. You need it more than I do.”

Veteran: “You know what? Take it. I was in the Marines. And my job was to protect this country. And help poor people.”

(Overcome with emotion, I impulsively salute at the veteran. He immediately snaps into a military salute in response. I thank him and start walking again, and he calls after me.)

Veteran: “Hey! Don’t you be spending that on alcohol, now!”

Me: “I won’t, sir!”

(True to my word, I converted the dollar into quarters for laundry, which I desperately needed to do. It really goes to show how some people, even in their greatest hours of need, will still go out of their way to help others out. Wherever you are now, sir, thank you – and to everyone else, please remember to support your troops, since many of them, after the fight, will need all the love they can get.)

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