Yesterday was Vietnam Veterans Day…and I didn’t give a damn, really.

How can the regular public be expected to understand or care about what we went through over in that god-forsaken country and war of the time? They can’t. I was in the Avant Coffee Shop in Lake Geneva around noon. I went up to the counter. Andrew was working the barista role so I asked for a cup of coffee. He went to cold brew, pour-over, or whatever baristas do these days to make great coffee. I waited and talked to him while he worked, there being nobody else in the place to occupy either one of us.

I told him it was Vietnam Veterans Day, but didn’t go into any detail, positive or negative. He slid the coffee mug across the counter when he was done, ignoring the five dollar bill I was holding out.

“It’s on me,” he said.

I looked at him in surprise.

“For what?” I asked.

“Vietnam Veterans Day,” he replied.

I was struck dumb. I put my five into the tip jar. I went back to my table and sat there for a while. I was touched to the core, and I could not figure out why. To Andrew, the gesture seemed so casual and natural, or so it seemed. I sit here, in the same place today, wondering why I was so affected, as I was. And I am. Out there in the world, those of you who might read this and think seemingly small gestures do not mean much, think again. I am sitting here thinking, about how great Avant is and Andrew working in it…and my town…and my life.

One small, and not overly expensive cup of coffee, delivered without any ceremony and a few words. I was, and remain, ‘reached’ and I think all of us should reflect on that…and maybe seek to ‘reach’ a few others. Here’s Andrew, at Avant, in Lake Geneva. The world as we know it is populated with such quiet, wonderful souls, and I hope to know more of them before I move on. I fought for something and people like Andrew help me to understand why and that it was not all for nothing.