Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

There’s something heart-warming about giving or receiving a Thank You.

When someone tells us thank you, we feel acknowledged, affirmed, and appreciated. We’re encouraged to go the extra mile, to keep on truckin’, and to persevere through inconveniences.

When we tell someone else thank you, it affirms our need to be in relationship with others, reminds us that “no man is an island,” and just plain feels good to bring a smile to someone else’s face!

But a thank you can be expressed many different ways – with words, a nod, or a smile, to name a few. It can also be expressed in the way I witnessed this afternoon.

Today, I had the touching experience of neither giving nor receiving a thank you, but of watching as a third person thanked my husband for being a veteran. We were enjoying a leisurely lunch at Olive Garden, a restaurant we frequent on a regular basis. Today is Veteran’s Day, and the restaurant chain welcomed veterans with a free entrée and a $10. gift card to be used at a future date.

Like most customer appreciation programs, this program is as much a marketing strategy as it is an altruistic show of gratitude. And yet…when the manager, Virginia, stepped up to our table, it was clear her words were genuine. Her voice broke as she thanked Russ for his service to his country. When we commented on the extent of the program – after all, they could have offered a free soda and been done with it – she also expressed appreciation for her employer who went above and beyond the obligatory Veteran’s Day acknowledgment.

Tears squeezed out of the corners of my eyes as I listened to heartfelt thanks being given to my husband by a stranger. I sat a bit taller, proud that I was married to this man of honor who had served his country with dedication and loyalty.

So at the close of this Veteran’s Day celebration, I say thank you to my husband and to all veterans. I also say thank you to the Olive Garden restaurant chain and to Virginia, the manager who made it personal.

Who have you thanked lately?

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1 Comment

  1. Barbara Matton

    Thank you. Kindness matters and thank you for sharing your heartfelt experience. It’s refreshing to hear about a kind and caring experience. We need more niceties in our lives.

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