Veteran takes wife out to dinner, only to be approached by five young men who bring him to tears.

Lou Zezoff lives in Granite City, Illinois. And one night, the Vietnam veteran decided to take his wife, Annette, out to Cracker Barrel for a nice, quiet dinner. Right after being seated, Lou caught the stares of a group of young men sitting near him.

A few minutes later, one of those men approached Lou and stood at his table with his hand outstretched for a handshake. Lou stood up and shook the man’s hand. The man thanked Lou for his service, and then Lou realized he was wearing his Navy veteran’s hat.

Lou also realized from the high and tight haircuts of all the men at the table, they were all servicemen, though not in uniform. They were Marines. And one by one, as each returned to their table, another would stand up, walk to Lou’s table, offer his hand and thank him for his service. Lou would acknowledge each of the soldiers with a nod of his head.

After Lou and his wife finished their meals, he called the waiter over for his check. The waiter pointed at the Marines’ table and told Lou that they had already taken care of his and his wife’s meals.

On the receipt, one of them wrote: “Semper Fi.” And at the bottom of the receipt was a hardy: “Oorah!”

Well, Lou was completely caught off guard by this extremely kind gesture, also knowing that the young servicemen don’t make that kind of money to spend on the meals of others. He told them they didn’t have to do that. But they insisted; they would hear none of it. They wanted Lou to know just how much they appreciated what he had done for his country.

Before they all left, the Marines stood up in a line and extended their hands – one by one — for one last handshake from Lou. The Navy veteran was extremely moved by the kindness shown to him by the Marines. And after he had shaken the last Marine’s hand, those Marines, now standing at attention, saluted Lou. Tears welled up in Lou’s eyes. He could not believe they were all treating him with such respect. But to those Marines, he certainly deserved it.

The Marines then walked out, but Lou had to stay behind for a few moments as the emotions overtook him. His wife had him sit down to catch his breath.

Those Marines who made a difference in Lou’s life that night were Val Diaz, Victor Gomez, Kevin Morris, Elijah Reynolds and Eric Morales. It was the right thing to do, they later said.

Says Pfc. Diaz: “He fought for us. Now it’s our turn.” 

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