Friday, November 9, 2012

Lucky Dogs owner shares veteran's thank you

A newsroom junkie’s mantra: You should never go anywhere without coming back with a story to report.

A beautiful one fell in my lap today. It won’t get huge headlines, but it’s one that must be shared. It reminded me that every gesture counts, that goodness does pay, that telling this story might prompt someone else to do a good deed.

I found my lucky tip at Lucky Dogs, a great hot dog/sandwich cafĂ© on Third Avenue west in downtown Bradenton. I had called ahead for a “Joan dog” to go -- a Lucky Dog sans onions, plus plenty of pickles.

Co-owner Sheri Clinard answered with a “Gotcha!” that almost made me turn around. “No, no, I promise I’d never surprise you with bad news without warning,” she assured me. “You have to come hear this story.” So I did.

Sheri prides herself on knowing everyone who comes into her shop more than once. But today, 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 service 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, as Jim Jones – himself a veteran – reported today in this wrapup of events.

 Throw politics aside for at least a day, and thank a veteran. You may change a life. Sheri did. My lucky day at Lucky Dogs!