Walmart customer’s kind gesture for veteran goes viral: ‘I’m grateful for you’

A woman in Iowa says her heart welled up with emotion after witnessing a young man’s act of kindness toward an older veteran.

Alana Ruthann took to Facebook on Sunday to share the heartwarming story, which took place the day before at her local Walmart in Ankeny. According to Ruthann, she was standing in line, waiting to pay for her purchases, when she heard a commotion between the two men standing near the checkout counter.

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“I didn’t even notice the two gentlemen standing in front of me until I heard an older man’s voice in confusion declare, “Wait, what is happening? What are you doing?!” wrote Ruthmann, who noted that the older man was wearing a hat that indicated he had served in the military.

“I looked up from my phone to see a younger man in front of the older gentleman respond, “Sir, I’m paying for your items because you paid by serving my country and I’m grateful for you.”

According to a witness, the young man noticed the veteran’s cap and said, “Sir, I’m paying for your items because you paid by serving my country and I’m grateful for you.”  (Alana Ruthann/Facebook)

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Ruthann said that both she and the older man were overcome with emotion, while the younger man simply paid for the items and left, uttering only another simple “thank you” to the veteran before departing.

The veteran remained flustered, according to Ruthann, asking the cashier “What do I do now?”

“You have a good day,” the cashier replied.

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“It was that moment I realized I had TWO heroes in line in front of me,” wrote Ruthann in the now viral post, which has since garnered 18K reactions and 7,700 shares.

She also added that the older gentleman soon gathered his composure, straigtened up, and walked out of the store “hold[ing] his head with pride.”

“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,” wrote Ruthann.

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