Veteran sends heartwarming message to stranger who paid for meal at Allen Park Chipotle

Veteran of Vietnam War trying to find, thank man who paid for meal

ALLEN PARK, Mich. – It’s a date Thomas Bardziewicz won’t ever forget. The date is Aug. 4, 1969, the day he was drafted into the Vietnam War.

“Gave us our fatigues and the rest of our stuff got shipped home and away we went,” he said. 

When he returned, he wasn’t treated well. 

“It’s pretty bad when your CO tells you, ‘You guys might want to put on civilian clothes when you are traveling home because it’s not going to be nice at the airports and it wasn’t.”

Now, 50 years later, there was an act of kindness at a Chipotle in Allen Park. 

Bardziewicz was in line when a man came up to him. 

“He put his hand on my shoulder and he said, ‘Thank you for your service,’ and I said, ‘You’re welcome and he just walked away.’”

When it was time to pay for his meal, the cashier had a surprise.

“The girl at the cashier register said, ‘That guy you were talking to paid for it.’”

Bardziewicz was overwhelmed.

“The meal wasn’t much, but it doesn’t matter,” he said. “You can’t put a price.”

Bardziewicz is now on a mission to find the man from Chipotle, posting a message on Facebook. 

The message reads:

"Tonight While in line at Chipotle's in AP, My Wife and I were placing our order, when a young man came up to me, Put his hand on my shoulder, and thanked me for my military service. (I'm a U.S Army Vietnam Veteran). Which I said your very welcome. We went to pay at the register and the cashier said the guy who talked to you paid for your order. I turned around and he was gone, this really caught me by surprise. I tried to talk but, I was too choked up, this kind act, from a complete stranger to an old veteran like me, really tugged at my heart.
Some people don't realize that being a soldier during the Vietnam war was not a nice time. I was 21 when I came home after 16 months of deployment. Getting home from the west coast in uniform was not a good experience. We were spit at, called unthinkable names egged, among other things that no one should be subject to while serving their country.
I kinda edged back into civilian life and never brought it up for many years.
God bless this young man, he made an old soldier dealing with medical issues,some military related. Feel very good.
I don't know if I'll ever be able to pay his kind act, forward, but I'll try. I'll never forget
I want to thank everyone for all the kind words from so many. My intention wasn't about me, but about a kind person who went out of his way to acknowledge me.
In this day and age of social media, sometimes it's not very nice.
Again, I want to thank each and everyone from the bottom of my heart 💜 the response was way more than I expected, so many kind words and personal experiences everyone shared.
There's a lot of us Vietnam veterans still out there.
Some Gave All, and All gave Some 😢
God Bless 🙏🏻

About the Author:

Koco joined the Local 4 News team in September of 2016. She was born and raised in Metro Detroit, attended Central Michigan University, and previously worked at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.