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Marine veteran picks up tab for active soldiers, prompting one to pay it forward

Used to selflessly serving his country on a daily basis, Washington Army National Guard sergeant Brian King was surprised when an anonymous veteran picked up his bill of $52.65, leaving just a simple note saying, "Thanks for your service gentleman." Wanting to thank the stranger, King took to Instagram to post a heartfelt message along with the picture of the receipt.

The touching moment took place at Uncle Buck's Fishbowl & Grill in Tacoma, Washington, where King says he took his friend Rich for a quick bite to eat. "He hadn't been to the Bass Pro Shop, so we took him there to eat and I ordered an appetizer and an entrée, and the waitress came over and she said our bill had been taken care of," King told TODAY.com. "We weren't in our uniforms because of security reasons, but this veteran must have known from our haircuts."

Having no way to thank the generous patron, King decided to share a picture of the receipt on social media. "Every time I think that no one cares that I'm a soldier or about my sacrifice," he wrote in the post Aug. 3., "Someone redeems my faith in society. Thank you, 'former marine' for your sacrifice and generosity! HOOAH!!!"

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This gesture especially touched King as he admitted the National Guard is often overlooked despite fighting fires, helping flood victims and much more. "We're often thought of as secondhand soldiers," he added. "So, it really touched me that there are people that still appreciate what we do." And given the recent tragic events of the Chattanooga shootings, King admitted it "rejuvenated his spirit."

Not able to shake this man's hand and buy him a beer as a thank you, King said he's decided to pay it forward. "That same day I went to Applebee’s and paid for a group of servicemen in cash and just left," he said. "I saw the group of guys together and I wanted to pay it forward and hope this encourages others to do the same."

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Now, his post has gone viral online, with people posting and commenting on the picture — something King never expected. "I was just trying to thank this anonymous Marine and had no idea there would be this much outpouring of support," concluded the sergeant who joined the forces in 1998. "I hope this inspires others to be generous and appreciative of all armed forces."

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