As a Veteran of Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm, I have had many opportunities to participate in Veteran’s Day activities. But this one, Nov. 11, 2020 was beyond all others.
Many generous companies were offering “freebies” to veterans this year but I chose my favorite place to celebrate with my beautiful Wife of 35 years. As I walked in I was greeted by many well wishers, as I definitely wore my “Retired Army” hat with all the gold and embroidery.
The owner of the Eggsquisite Cafe was Meff Asani who greeted me warmly and shook my hand as if COVID never existed. And I was accepting of his warmth and sincerity as he gave praise to my military service. Both he and I served, but he served in Albania as a teenager. He came to America in 1978 to find a better life among the “most beautiful people in the world.”
Meff asked me to sit as he unraveled a story about the COVID shutdown and the beauty he experienced amidst the turmoil and uncertainty. He was forced to close his “dream” for a disease no one understood as fear seemed to rule the day. His phone rang and a frequent customer named Bob called him and asked did he need anything. Bob then asked if his employees need anything.
True to his character, Meff personally asked each employee if they had specific needs during the pandemic. Two employees had special circumstances they could not take care of and spoke to their need. Bob was called and the next day he appeared with the exact amount of money needed to resolve the issues. Meff had tears in his eyes as he described that in no other country in the world does this kind of compassion and generosity exist.
Then he again turned to me and said Bob and his wife Nancy want you to be honored for your service to this Great Nation. They are buying meals for all veterans who come in to this cafe.
Now I have to admit I love his food, but I love and share what he feels about America. Amidst all the turmoil and uncertainty, Americans still have heart, hope, and most of all, compassion for one another.
CW5 David P. Richard, Prosper
U.S. Army (retired)
U.S. Diplomat (retired)