I had just entered the elevator on the third floor of the medical center after a simple check up. As I entered I noticed an old gentleman in a wheelchair with a little old lady behind him. I noticed his baseball cap with WWII on the front. Most likely, a veteran of World War Two, I assumed.
Just making small talk, I said, "so, you were in the big one." His answer stunned me. He said, "Yes, I went overseas a strapping young newlywed and I came back in this thing," slapping each side of the wheelchair with his hands.
I stared at him, looked at his wife, and the magnitude of what he said to me hit me like a ton of bricks. He married this woman, went to serve his country, was wounded and paralyzed and then returned to his wife and she stayed with him for all these years. Overcome with a combination of sadness and awe for the magnitude of his statement, I looked at him and said: "I know you probably don't hear this nearly enough, but I want to thank you for your sacrifice for me and our Country." I then looked at his wife and thanked her for her faithfulness to her husband. Then, even though I had never been in the military, I straightened myself and gave them both the best salute I could muster.
At that moment the elevator door opened, and I walked off on cloud nine and teary eyed, the woman pushed her husband out into the lobby, both of them were crying too. That 30 second encounter will stay with me the rest of my life and I hope they will recall my sincere gratitude.