The other morning, when Gary stopped in at a fast food joint for some sweet tea, he met an elderly gentleman who was celebrating his 73rd birthday. He was “funny as hell”, according to Gary, and he told Gary that he had just come from the doctor’s office, where he got a full, clean bill of health, contrary to the doctor’s expectations, and was honoring this accomplishment by eating some junk food, since he had to eat healthy and then fast before the appointment.
When Gary wished him a happy birthday, the old man told him he is celebrating his birthday without his wife, who had died. His daughter was supposed to be coming into town to spend his birthday with him, though.
Gary then did something that perfectly illustrates why I love him so much: he paid for the man’s breakfast, and the person at the counter wrote “Happy birthday” on a box and placed it on the man’s tray. When the old man tried to pay for his breakfast, the person at the counter nodded toward Gary and joked, “He says it’s free.”
Gary ate breakfast with him, then had to leave for work. Before he left, he handed the elderly gentleman one of his business cards, so that he would have his number if he needed anything or felt lonely on his birthday.
Gary is one of those rare people who genuinely makes the world a better place simply by being in it and by just being himself. He asked me, when he told me about the old man, if I thought it was weird to give him his business card. I told him not at all. Even if the old man never calls, I just like knowing that, if he ever wants to or needs to, he can.