BRADENTON -- A simple, sincere act of kindness to a veteran a year ago has come full circle for a Bradenton businesswoman.
Sheri Clinard, co-owner of Lucky Dogs, a hot dog/sandwich café on Third Avenue west in downtown Bradenton, learned Friday that every gesture counts, that goodness does pay, that telling this story might prompt someone else to do a good deed.
Sheri prides herself on knowing everyone who comes into her shop more than once. But on Friday, she didn't recognize the man carrying a vase of flowers. She didn't think much of it, welcoming a busy lunch crowd. But when the man turned to pay, he gave Sheri the flowers -- and this amazing letter:
"To that special person who works here:
"Last year on Veterans Day, I came to the Lucky Dog for lunch. I had on a Dale Earnhardt Sr. jacket and a Vietnam Veteran hat.
After I finished my lunch, I tried to pay for it but the lady (I don't know her name) said Thank You for my ser
vice in Vietnam and lunch was on her!
"I was surprised and grateful because no one has ever said Thank You or bought me lunch for my service. Her thoughtfulness and words are in my heart almost daily.
"I gave her a hug and said Thanks, while trying to hold back tears as I walked out of the restaurant. She changed my life without even knowing it!
"I brought you these flowers today to try to show you my thanks. Each petal on the flowers represent each time I think of your kindness on that day. Thank you!!
"God bless you and your family,
"A Vietnam Vet"
The Vietnam vet left Lucky Dogs today before Sheri could get his name. But one year later, Sheri's act of kindness has come full circle.
And we are reminded, on this Veterans Day weekend, that millions of men and women have served in the military to protect our freedom.
Throw politics aside for at least a day, and thank a veteran. You may change a life.