I'm in the military and at the time of the following tale, I was stationed in California. This occurred shortly after we went into Iraq and anti-military sentiment was rather high, where I was stationed. This makes what happened doubly poignant for those of us who were involved.
A group of us had been in training all morning and decided to stop off for lunch before we went home for the day. There were about 9 of us present, in our BDUs, enjoying a decent lunch. The check is delivered to our table and we're all starting to break out our wallets to pay off the tab. Next thing you know, a woman walks by grabs our check, looks at all of us, and says "Thank you all, so much for what you do. This is the least I can do in return." We were flabbergasted and insisted that wasn't necessary, we do it because it's an honor to serve, we want to do this, etc. She just smiled and went to pay our bill. 9 sailors after a day of training consume a lot
Considering all we'd been exposed to lately, middle fingers, yelling, etc.. this was a gesture that blew us all away. So we figured out what we could do for her. She'd gone into the ladies room or to collect her belongings, we're not sure what. So we all stood outside, in a line, and waited for her to exit. As soon as she did, we all popped tall with our best salutes. Her smile made our week.
It's been about 3 years and I can still remember her face. She really didn't have to do that. I will say this though, people like her remind me that people do care.