5 Teenagers Disturb Elderly Veteran’s Meal, Making Him Cry. Then THIS Happens!

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Unfortunately, many people treat veterans poorly. So, when these five teenagers saw this elderly veteran enjoying his meal, they disturbed them until he cried. Then this happened:

Lou Zoff was a 74-year-old and lived in Granite City, Illinois, with his wife, Annette. That night, the couple went out to eat at a Cracker Barrel, and they were looking forward to having a good time together as usual. Lou was wearing his veteran baseball cap when he went out. It said “US Navy Vietnam Veteran” on the front, showing everyone he served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He wore it all the time as a quiet way of remembering his service and feeling good about it.

As Lou and Annette stepped into the diner, the air smelled of fried chicken and pancakes. The old couple sat down at their favorite table in the entire restaurant. The comfy old chairs felt like a warm hug, and the gentle murmur of people talking made a nice background noise for their special dinner.

Almost immediately, five young men burst into the restaurant, and they were laughing loudly. They were all wearing typical everyday clothing, but there was something odd about them. Lou could not help but study them. The tallest of them had tightly cut brown hair, and he laughed the loudest. Next to him was a shorter and stronger-looking one with a shaved head and the picture of a mean-looking dog tattooed on his arm.

Beside him was the quiet observer of the group, who pushed his glasses further up his nose as he scanned the room. The penultimate one had a friendly smile, and he kept nudging the last one, who had dark circles under his eyes. The young men were full of energy, and their laughter made it hard to hear other people talking softly.

Lou, who was always paying attention to things, saw them coming in his direction. He felt a little nervous when they looked his way. After all those years in the Navy, he knew how to sense danger. Had they been drinking? Were they looking for trouble? A hold-up, maybe? Lou touched his wedding ring for comfort, and the familiar feel of it calmed him down a bit.

The young men sat down at a table a few spots away from Lou’s table, and their laughter subsided. They began talking quietly in hushed tones. Lou still felt like they were watching him. He looked their way again, and this time, his eyes met one of them.

For a second, the young man’s eyes widened slightly, then he nervously looked away. Lou frowned, not sure what to think. He was looking forward to a peaceful dinner with Annette, but now he felt a little worried. He didn’t know it then, but the young men had noticed Lou and his hat, and they were going to make this an evening he’d never forget.

After discussing their options, Lou and Annette ordered fried cod, and it came with a side of respect. As soon as the elderly couple got their order, the teenagers sprung into action. Lou

was just enjoying his meal quietly when one of the young men came over and stood at his table. Lou huffed; he was right. These young boys had been sizing him up. But for what, he thought. He was just another old man with his wife here to enjoy his meal. Or was it because of his cap? Lou could not really tell, but one thing was for sure: no matter how old he was, he could not just back down so easily.

As the first young man got to his table, Lou stood up until he came eyeball to eyeball with him. He was the short and strong-looking one of the group, the one with the dog tattoo on his arm. Annette subtly tapped Lou on his arm and hinted at him to be gentler, but Lou was not standing down. Since these young men had come in, they had been disturbing him with their looks and stares. Now, one of them had come to confront him at his table. Lou might be old, but he felt he could take the young man on without any help. After all, he had been a serviceman for as long as he could remember.

When Lou was the young man’s age, he was just recently out of high school. Lou had been born in Granite City and attended Granite City High School, where he first met the love of his life, Annette. They were deeply in love and dreamed of a future together, but those dreams had to be put on hold because Lou had to figure his life out. Being the son of immigrant parents from Macedonia, Lou had little to no steady economic footing. There was no money for him to go to college and get a good job in the future. So, to support his family, Lou had to start earning a living right away, and the quickest way to do that was to sign up in the military.

But Lou was not after a paycheck; he wanted to truly serve his country, which he called his own. When he enlisted in the Navy at 18, he was eager to see the world and make a difference. When he went on his first tour, Annette waved from the dock as Lou’s ship sailed away. Macedonians didn’t give their kids middle names, so this meant Lou did not have one. This made things a bit difficult and funny in the Navy, as he always had “NMN” (No Middle Name) in parenthesis in the middle of his name on all documents.

Serving his country in the Navy came at a price. Apart from not seeing his family for long, it affected his friendships and relationships. Lou was always stationed on ships for long periods of time, and sometimes he would be at sea for almost a year. The distance began to strain their relationship, as back home, Annette felt alone. Her family began to worry about her future with a sailor who was always gone, so they began to pressure her to consider other options closer to home.

One day, Lou came back from a tour to see what would turn his world upside down. He returned to see that Annette was pregnant. She was about to be married to someone else. The pressure from her family and the long periods of Lou’s absence had driven her to this heartbreaking decision. Lou was heartbroken. The life he had envisioned with Annette had slipped away like sand through his fingers. He had no choice but to accept her decision, even though it hurt him badly.

So, the Navy became his sole focus. He poured all his energy into his duties, finding solace in the structure and routine of the ship life. For the next 14 years, from 1959 to 1963, Lou served on various Navy ships during the Vietnam War. He was a Petty Officer Second Class, and he served on the aircraft carrier USS Coral C. In 1961 and 1962, he was designated a parachute rigger but served as a plane captain on the carrier. He was responsible for planes from pre-flight checks until they returned to the ship.

After trying his hand in different businesses and ventures, he realized he found his true purpose only in serving. So, Lou got married, had a son, and spent 32 years as a police officer. He became a detective for the SIU Police Force in the 1970s, then later worked court security with the US Marshals Service. Finally, in 1996, he decided to retire and enjoy his golden years.

Then, in 2009, tragedy struck. Lou’s wife passed away after over 30 years of marriage. Lou missed her badly, and her passing hurt him. It was during this vulnerable time when he was at the funeral home to make arrangements for his wife that fate intervened in a shocking way. Standing across from the room was Annette. It had been over 40 years since they last saw each other, and as unbelievable as it seemed, she was also there for the same reason as Lou. She wanted to make funeral arrangements for her husband, who had also passed away that very week. Annette was filled with deep sorrow, as she had lost her son just the previous year.

Lou and Annette found solace in each other’s company and offered comfort to each other during this difficult time. The connection they once shared was rekindled into a warm friendship, and as they spent more time together, their bond deepened. The spark that had flickered all those years ago had never truly been extinguished, and it began to glow once more. Eventually, love bloomed anew, and they chose to spend the rest of their lives together. After 50 years apart, Lou and Annette had been reunited by destiny. They weren’t the young sweethearts anymore, but despite all the time apart and the hardship, their hearts still beat for each other. Annette even had a son who served this country like Lou in his youth; he was an Air Force officer, and Lou was proud to meet him. From their previous marriages, Lou had one son, while Annette had three other sons and a daughter.

Today was like an anniversary for them, and they were celebrating it with a simple dinner. The only problem seemed to be the five teenagers disturbing them. Lou was already on his feet, ready to face the first one, when the young man did something shocking. The young man threw out his hand to shake Lou; he wanted to thank the old vet for his service and his sacrifice. The gesture caught Lou completely off guard. This really was nothing close to what he was expecting. After all, it wasn’t the type of scene that unfolded at dining establishments every day, but it was real. The young man, who was roughly 19 years of age, really wanted to shake his hand. Lou returned the handshake with a smile and a firm grip. The young man smiled back and returned to his seat.

Lou thought it ended there, but he was wrong. And it was nothing like he had ever imagined. By the end of the day, he would be in tears. The rest of the group stood up and expressed their gratitude as they came closer. Lou could see they were military because of their high and tight haircuts. It didn’t stop with one handshake because as soon as the first man returned to his table, the second Marine got up and walked over to Lou. Once again, the old vet stood up, and he didn’t really know what was going to happen next. The second young man then told Lou that he wanted to thank him for all five of them. As he

said so, he pointed to the others. Lou felt touched by their actions. These were no troublemakers or dishonorably discharged soldiers. These were a new generation of soldiers, and they had nothing but respect for him and his past service.

Lou waved at them in acknowledgment, and this time, he did not stop there. He signaled to Annette that he was going to their table, and then he went over to the young men’s seats to talk with them briefly. It turned out that they were all Marines in civilian clothing. They were currently on temporary duty for schooling at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. They had been to a Blues hockey game the night before, and they had stopped to grab a bite before heading back to base. Lou expressed his appreciation and wished all the men well with their future military careers.

After that, he returned to his wife and his meal, thinking that was the end of it. After Lou and his wife finished their dinner, he beckoned for a waiter to bring over the check. When the waiter arrived at the table, he waved the bill with a big smile on his face. He told Lou that it was his lucky day. The young Marines had paid for Lou’s dinner. What’s more, there was a message on the receipt. One of the Marines had written “Semper Fi” across the top with an “Oorah” at the bottom. Lou was completely taken by surprise by this gesture. He went over to their table and put his arm around one of the guys. They had indeed done something nice, but Lou insisted that they didn’t have to pay for his dinner. A simple thank you was more than enough.

Plus, from his experience, Lou knew that being in the military, you don’t really make a lot of money. Soldiers had to be very meticulous in their spending. But the Marines stood firm. They were emphatic, and they wanted Lou to know how much they appreciated the service. They understood that his commitment to the nation probably came with great sacrifice, including enduring distance from their loved ones and trauma one can only imagine. Lou quickly brought up a pen and paper and had four of the Marines write their names and phone numbers on the back of the bill. He hoped to return the favor someday.

The Marines were Kevin Morris, aged 18; Val Diaz, aged 21; Eric A. Morales, aged 18; and Victor M. Andr Gomez, aged 19. They were all Private First Class. Lou didn’t get the name of the fifth Marine who was off paying the bill. Lou thanked them for their kindness once again, and once again, he wished them good luck in their future service.

As Lou and Annette were about to leave, something else happened that left all the other guests in awe. As the young Marines saw that they were about to part ways, they decided to give the veteran one last show of respect. While Elijah was paying off the bill, the other four walked up to Lou’s table and extended their hands to shake the veteran’s hand one last time. As they did, Lou began to tear up. But as expected, that was not all. Each of them thanked and hugged him one by one. This time, Lou could not hold it back. Tears started dropping from his eyes.

The Marines filed in front of his table and stood in line. After each one of them shook and hugged him, they walked to his right. The atmosphere in the restaurant, which once was noisy and chatty, was now replaced with an unusual quiet as the patrons watched the Marines’ orderly conduct. When it got to the fourth Marine, he did something that brought back a lot of memories for Lou. He gave Lou the sharpest salute he’d ever seen in all his years of service. As he did so, the man turned and marched out of the restaurant immediately.

The entire restaurant stood up and gave a resounding round of applause. Lou was in awe. He felt the deepest gratitude for the men who so emphatically expressed their appreciation for his service. He couldn’t help but turn to his wife, who was also touched by the display. She had to warn Lou to better sit down and catch his breath before they left. Truly, he had to because he could feel his heart swell.

Annette was deeply moved by the scene. It spoke volumes for the military and presented it more positively. It made her think of her son who was retired from the Air Force and the people who thanked him for his service. It was truly rewarding to see that the military values were so strong and so polite.

Lou did not let the story end there. The very next week, he called the local paper to tell his story because he couldn’t express how much it affected him. He still teared up whenever he talked about the incident. As far as Lou was concerned, those young Marines were such an asset to their country. They were the perfect ambassadors for the Marine Corps and their nation.

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