Our “cold drink” guy was headed up the stairs in our section one more time when he was hailed by a fan in the section just across the way. He stopped, put the box down across the steps and attended to the request. As he turned back toward us, a young man, a very young-looking young man, came down between the rows of seats and asked about the price of his favorite beverage. Undoubtedly because he looked so young, he was used to showing his ID and he handed it over without being asked. The price was announced and he opened his wallet and pulled out the money to buy the drink.
Our concessionaire looked carefully at the ID. Then he asked the young man, “Are you active duty?”
“Yes, sir,” came the reply and he said where he was from. The chunks of ice shifted to fill the space now empty in the box where the requested drink had been.
“Here’s your change,” said the man in the yellow shirt, as he handed the young soldier not only the beverage he asked for but all of his money back.
The weather at the ballpark that night had been dicey at best; cloudy with light rain, heavy enough to bring out umbrellas and rain hats sometimes.
Maybe it was the reflection off of the iridescent yellow shirt or maybe the lights caught the rain drops just right. For some reason, suddenly the place got brighter.
Most likely, the brightness came from the light reflecting off of the wide smile now covering the enlisted man’s face.
“Thanks, man,” he said to the guy with the icy box. Then came the simple reply, “No, thank you.”
Usually when we think of patriotism, we think of supreme sacrifice, of men and women struggling against all odds to save a town, a ship or a wounded soldier.