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Restaurant Patron Covers Bill For Elderly Veteran On His Birthday And Leaves Touching Note

| by Dominic Kelly
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A 92-year-old veteran received an incredible gift for his birthday when another restaurant customer surprised him by paying his family’s entire bill.

Bob Nieman, the man's son and a resident of Pembroke Pines, Florida, reached out to Opposing Views to share some photos from his father’s birthday dinner and describe the amazing gift they received.

As Nieman explained in his message, his father, 92, is a World War II veteran and was a plank owner on the USS Lexington. On Feb. 21, a total of four people, including Nieman and his father, decided to go out to a local Outback restaurant in Sebring, Florida to celebrate the elderly man’s birthday. Much to their surprise, the check came back completely covered by another patron.

On a bill for $58.59, anonymous patron wrote, “Thank you for your service!!” and signed the check, “Very Grateful Americans.”

“I did 27 years on the Police Dept. and people never cease to amaze me in bad & good ways,” Nieman wrote in a message to OV. “My Dad is my hero & this was I think more of a happy moment for me than him, seeing someone appreciate him in this way actually brought a [sic] tears to my eyes.”

After this story was first published, Bob Nieman spoke to us more about his family's experience and provided some more background about his father, also named Robert Nieman.

"I wheeled my dad in & sat him down as I usually do," Nieman explained. "I noticed this 1 couple across from us watching [and] 10 minutes later they were gone. Thinking no more about it we started offing our food with the waiter as we were doing so he said to all of us, 'Don't Worry about the bill it's already been taken [care] of because of this man service to our country.' My dad was at the time wearing his Lexington Hat like he always does started beaming from ear to ear. My mom asked who did this & the waiter said, 'Don't worry they already left but they wanted to make sure you all were taken care of.' Me being the ex-cop I am had to know and pressed him some more. 'It wasn't the couple sitting at that table?' I asked, 'the couple I noticed earlier?' He told me yes, it was...how did I know? 'Just a good guess, I said.'" 

Nieman went on to share more about the elder Bob Nieman's time in the Navy and describe how his father, at 92, has survived despite having a lot against him while serving in the military.

"He is one of the last remaining plank owners (first crew of the ship) of the USS Lexington CV 16," Nieman explained. "He served there most of WWII and was taken off by a medical ship in 1944 when he was the only surviving member of his gun crew that was not killed by a Kamikaze that hit his gun turret. My dad attends the Lexington Reunion of all ship members & their family's that ever served every year."

Photos provided by Bob Nieman