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The Veteran at the Exit

Posted by John Olson on 3/28/2016

Last week I was on a business trip through Florida when I exited the turnpike with the gas gauge sitting well below empty. Approaching the exit light I quickly shot into the right hand turn lane having seen the gas station just up the road.

While waiting at the light, I looked over to the left hand lane and saw a man standing there. He was an older gentleman, clean cut and wearing a very worn but spotless military shirt. This man also had a metal leg. Perhaps what stood out most was this man's poise. He did not walk from car to car asking for money. Instead he stood stiff in a parade rest type stance while with one hand he held a small sign that simply said he was a veteran and "my family could use a little help".

Standing rigid he only moved when someone motioned him over where he limped up, and accepted their contribution with heartfelt thanks before resuming his previous stance.

I felt an immediate need to thank this man for protecting our country and help him out with a $20 bill. However this veteran could not cross over 2 lanes of traffic to me nor I to him. As the light changed, I was forced to make my turn and proceed to the gas station. Later, as I headed back to the on ramp the man was gone...

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