Stranger’s act of kindness to his family moves Navy officer to tears

Bashon Mann
Navy Lt Commander Bashon Mann with daughters Basil and Sabine. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

A Navy officer took his family out to celebrate his 6-year-old daughter’s birthday and got a big surprise when a stranger picked up the tab.

Lt. Cmdr. Bashon Mann told “Fox and Friends Weekend” on Saturday that his daughter asked him to wear his uniform for the Wednesday night celebration because she doesn’t get to see him in it often.

The waiter in the D.C.-area restaurant told him an anonymous stranger had paid for the meal.

“Just saying ‘thank you’ is really not enough,” Mann said. “It made me think about a lot of other things, just quieted the negative noise. It’s good to see something positive.”

Moved by the gesture, Mann took to Facebook to express his gratitude, with this open letter:

Dear “ “,

November 19, 2014 was not an especially peculiar day for any reason, it was rather cold in the nation’s capital but other than the usual beltway driven, dog chasing its tail political nuance that occurs here on a daily basis this was simply not unlike any other day as far as I could see. “ “, I suspect you saw it through a completely different lens however, just my hunch. I do want you to know that I walked into that restaurant this evening wearing my Navy service dress uniform because my daughter asked that I dress up for the occasion of her birthday dinner. I was more than happy to oblige. You see, she does not get to see me in uniform very often, and I was proud of her that she would ask to see me in what Daddy goes to work in. …

“ “, my parents George and Linda Mann could not make it down from New York for this birthday dinner, though they made sure they were present in spirit. My mother, the saint she is had made sure to reach out to me just days before to tell me she would send a check in the mail to cover the cost of dinner.

“ “, I am 41 yrs old, so when I tell you that I sometimes hang my head a bit when Mom & Dad say they got “it”, well you’ll just have to understand though tremendously grateful for the blessing of parents with the energy, ability and will to share so lovingly, there is the small sting of humility and a burden I feel I place upon them from time to time. Things have been difficult the past couple of years and it’s a longer story than you probably have time for. Thus, you are asking yourself why am I telling you all of this? I’m longwinded, can never tell a short story. You see “ “, it’s just that you caught me flat footed. And maybe that was your intent. You don’t know my inner struggles, and I don’t know yours. Perhaps that is how it is meant to be; perhaps that is the blessing inside the blessing – one I shall just have to accept and learn from. That despite heaviness, strife and anguish it is the openness of ones heart that allows for the good to spread, for healing to be felt. It has been hours now and I have not stopped thinking about the profoundness of your actions … And, I suspect it is going to take me some time to figure out how I shall properly respond. How do I take your action and create an equally compelling and forceful reaction. How do I pay it forward?

After the fulfilling dinner was consumed and dishes cleared from the table, after dessert was served, birthday songs sung, candles blown out, ice cream and sopaipillas consumed did the waiter lean over my right shoulder ever so gently to speak. “Sir, your check has been taken care of this evening, and thank you for your service.” …

The waiter refused to tell me your name “ “, he heeded your instruction and failed to budge. I’ll never know who you are. I’ll never be able to personally thank you for doing something I may have merely only thought of in passing, something I may have never done on my own accord. Something I could only wish I had the fortitude and bravery to have done a long time ago.

“ “, you don’t know a single burden I may carry or what I may have been going through today, nor do I know the travails of your daily journey; but when I reached my car to begin my drive down Georgia Avenue, I fought back tears as I tried to keep myself together and take in your kindness at its root. … I need you to know that I won’t block the flow of generosity; I won’t halt your abundance of goodness.

Thank you “ ”, you are my “friend.”


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