On Oct. 24, my daughter, her dad, my two grandchildren (ages 10 years and 13 months) and I were eating at Applebee’s in Windham. We were finishing our meals when an elderly man approached our table.

He said he had to let us know how well-behaved the children were and asked if we were military. My daughter let him know that her husband had been in the military. He stated he wanted to pay for our meals. We, of course, told him it wasn’t necessary, but he insisted and went to pay the bill.

He then came back to the table and asked if he could tell us a story. He told us that when he was younger, he didn’t have much money but went to Mexico with friends anyway.

There he met a man who did have money and, talking with the man, told him that one day he’d have money like him and when he did, he’d give to people until it hurt. The man told him “no,” he needed to give to others until it felt good. The story was touching and, yes, my eyes leaked a bit. It touched all of us.

Paying it forward in a big way – while picking up our tab would have been enough, our real takeaway was his story of sacrifice and service to others.

I hope he reads this and knows how much we appreciated his act of kindness and the lesson he gave all of us.

Loretta Dumond