A Florida Vietnam veteran was stunned to receive a note on his car from a stranger that thanked him for his service (video below).
Richard Smith’s car has always grabbed people’s attention, as it flaunts a Vietnam vet license plate and bumper sticker.
“People have noticed it and they say thank you,” Smith told WPTV. “But never has anybody ever taken the time to write like this."
The elderly veteran found the note in his driver’s door handle, left there while his car was in a parking lot. Smith said that when he first saw the note, he thought something bad had happened.
“I thought at first that maybe somebody had hit the car in a spot I didn’t see,” he said. “And then I opened it right here and I'm reading it. I said, ‘Wow. That's really something.' It got me a little emotional."
The note was written by an anonymous person -- a person Smith said he was determined to track down.
“I thank you so much for fighting for our country. The dedication of your life will always, forever be appreciated. So much love to you. Have a beautiful, peaceful happy day and life, God bless,” the note read. The writer also drew a heart at the end.
Smith said the kind gesture was the opposite of the way he was treated when he came home from Vietnam almost 50 years ago.
“We were still frowned on, cursed at,” he said. “Not a welcoming home like you see today at all.”
The vet added that he hoped more people would bestow similarly kind gestures upon those who have served and fought for their country.
“For the younger guys, they've had a ... harder than we did because they've gone back multiple times,” he said. “It's a long time. It's a lot of work."
In an incident very much the opposite of Smith’s positive note, a Concord, North Carolina, veteran took to social media after a note was left on her car that accused her of abusing a veteran parking spot.
“This parking is for Veterans, lady,” the note read. “Learn to read [and] have some respect."
Rebecca Hayes said she believed the person left the note because she is a woman and wasn’t a stereotypical veteran.
“Veterans come in all shapes, sizes, genders and colors,” Hayes told WBTV. "More veterans don't fit that stereotype than do."