BBQ and Simple Patriotism
I had drill…err...I mean…. Unit Battle Assembly this weekend. It was 2LT B's last weekend with us before he ships to Iraq so all my officers and warrant officers took him to the original Rudy's on the North side of San Antonio. We usually swing by Rudy’s at least once on drill weekends. They give a nice military discount, and they’ve done lots to support the troops. The original location is by far the best of the chain, but in my opinion, about mid-grade BBQ. (I’m a beer and BBQ snob.)
Anyway, we had an APFT on Sunday morning. I thought I had everyone beat on sit ups at 80, but 2LT B did 84. Bastard. But, we’d earned our monthly BBQ, and we all rolled to Rudy’s at lunch to have some fellowship with 2LT B.
The seven of us get in line. There’s a big lunch crowd so there is a little bit of a wait. I take up the company commander position at the rear, but since we’re not eating out of mermites, there is no chance of getting that burnt piece of shit that used to be chicken. Most of my officers have already been to the sandbox so we’re all pumping 2LT B up with war stories. CPT S, new to my company and a Arab/French linguist, had a funny story about being the only guy who dismounts a Striker in the middle of a bunch of Iraqis. “I get out and those fuckers close the ramp behind me…”
We get through the line and the staff is directing us to one cash register. I figured it was so they could ring up the discount at one register. I reach for my wallet and the cashier says that it’s taken care of.
“Taken care of?” I asked.
“Yes, sir,” She replies. “Your bill is paid.”
Now, I know something is up. We’re a bunch of cheap bastards. I’ve witnessed CW3 S haggle over a bar tab in Thailand where the actual difference in price would have been about two bucks so I know damn well that none of my guys is going to pick up the tab on $100 worth of BBQ.
“Who picked up the bill?” I ask.
The cashier points out a older woman standing in the corner.
“You weren’t supposed to tell,” she cries.
Too late. I go thank her, and when my guys see what’s going on, they bum rush her to thank her for lunch. She thanks us for our service, embarrassed that her cover is blown.
We eat lunch and wish 2LT B good luck. The shock has worn off and 2LT B is starting to get mentally ready for what lies ahead. Knowing that he has the love and support of total strangers is going to help.