Ex-Girlfriend’s Grandmother Requested Him To Fulfill Her Husband’s Last Wish.
I have an ex-girlfriend whose grandparents were, essentially, an extra set of grandparents for me. It really chapped her ass that they treated me as such and introduced me as ‘one of theirs’ years after we had broken up as a couple.
The grandpa was a Navy vet and an airedale who worked on patrol aircraft back in the day and his first and middle name were Daniel Boone but everyone called him Jack. He passed away after a long battle with congestive heart failure and his wife informed me that he requested I be one of his pall bearers even though he had six brothers and five sons.
I was concerned they would be left out and she very firmly told me, “Well, none of them were sailors like Jack and he asked if you would wear your uniform for it.”
So, I bought a brand new dress blue uniform, neckerchief, medals, and rank/rate patches and hash marks and took them to a local dry cleaner that did alterations right off base that was owned by a friendly Iraqi immigrant.
Actually, ‘friendly’ is an understatement. He was always positive, upbeat and generally an awesome guy. You never got out of his shop without chatting for a few minutes and he always, always seemed happy to see you.
He took the measurements for the pants and asked when I needed it all complete. It was a Wednesday and I told him needed it completed by Friday.
He looked at me with a pained expression and said it might be possible but it would be a bit expensive and asked what I needed it for so fast. With a sly grin he asked if I had a PI coming up that I had forgotten about and rubbed his fingers together, teasing me.
As gently as I could I told him it was for a funeral that Friday and said that whatever he charged it was fine.
His expression immediately changed and he glanced up at the clock and asked what time I had to be at the ship in the morning and what time I drove by his shop on the way.
I told him I would be driving by at about 0600 and he waved his hand and said, “No problem, it will be here for you.” They didn’t even open until 0700.
He waved me out of the store, all business now, “Tomorrow morning, early. I will have it.”
I stopped at the cleaners the next morning and one of his young sons was there and let me in. The dad had done everything: all the alterations, rolling and measuring the neckerchief, mounting my medals, all my rating and hash mark patches, dry cleaned and perfect.
When I took out my wallet his son waved me off. “He stayed here last night to finish it and told me not to accept payment. He would be insulted if you tried to pay for this.”
I mumbled and insisted a bit and the kid smiled and said, “We owe our lives to this country and you who serve. That’s why my dad has this place close to the base. It made him very happy and proud to do this for you.”
Consequently, I told my buddies on the ship about it and we made sure he had as much of our business as we could throw at him. He never really mentioned it to me again, but the next time I brought something in he just gave me an extra smile and nod at the start of our conversation.
It was, and remains, one of the nicest gestures I can recall during my 10 years on active duty.