It was dark and stormy out, the lightning flashed just as they opened the front doors and into the warm restaurant. Even though it may have been warmer, the atmosphere seemed equally as moody as outside.
Then they saw him, they knew to go right up to him and give him a piece of their mind.
He coached the Columbus Lions and a football team in Georgia. This wasn’t too impressive since he was also a Lieutenant Colonel – his name was Robert Risdon. His primary focus was being a husband and father-of-two.
He didn’t always get a chance to go home, he often worked late and had to work long hours.
Risdon had to travel across the country since he coached two sports teams. He and his co-coach Jason Gibson had to also scout for the teams on top of that.
Risdon was very fatigued from scouting and coaching the teams all weekend. His team was practicing for the Senior Bowl. He thought he could now relax, but not yet.
They were getting close to home, but then a storm broke out. There was only one place that was close by – a Taco Bell. They were also starving so they decided to stop there anyway.
The restaurant would be dry and warm and have a bite to eat. It would be good.
As they got to the front door, Risdon heard the thunder crackle. The storm had gotten far worse and he was glad to get indoors just in time.
The windows shook as the thunder rattled them. Risdon didn’t know at the time that the weather would be the least of his worries.
Surprisingly, the restaurant was packed full of people. It seemed that more than just him had the idea of taking shelter from the storm.
He ordered what he wanted and found an empty table in the middle of the restaurant. All of the booths were full. He was so hungry and he couldn’t wait to chow down into his meal. But then he noticed something.
The two characters were dressed all in black and were sopping wet from the rain. He noticed slippery water gathering up at their feet.
The poor guys had walked to the restaurant to get away from the storm. He wondered how long they had stayed out in the rain to get to the place.
A Good Soldier
He knew they noticed him and were acting very suspicious. His training in the army had prepared him for that. He kept an eye on them to make sure there was no funny business.
Risdon thought that the suspicious characters could cause trouble and things could escalate quickly. He was still wearing his military clothing, maybe that’s why there were eyeing him?
Springing Into Action
Then the two young approached the cash register and made a gesture to the cashier. It would be a gesture that would make him spring into action.
The cashier shook her head at the two boys. Whatever she said to them made them make a rash action.
They quickly turned and began to approach other tables in the same manner. What were they showing them? Everyone they approached had the same reaction. The boys became desperate and began to move faster.
That’s when they spotted Risdon in his uniform.
Risdon expected them to run and hide as the uniform often provoked that reaction in younger boys but what they did surprised him.
They straightened up their posture and made a bee-line straight for him. Risdon was getting ready to assess the situation that had everyone staring at the boys but then he heard a shout.
Big Brown Eyes
One of the restaurant employees began to shoo the boys away but they were determined. They bypassed the worker and stood in front of Risdon. They were soaking. Risdon looked into eyes that appeared to have captured the entire moon.
What they said next shocked him.
“Do you want to buy some candy?”, they asked innocently. They discreetly showed him the bag full of baked goods. A big smile flashed across Risdon’s face before it suddenly disappeared again.
He wondered why these boys were selling candy at a restaurant and then remembered he had no cash.
He asked his co-coach, Gibson if he had any and he said he didn’t. He told the boys he had no cash and watched their shoulders slump and their heads bow in disappointment.
“What are you selling these for, boys?”, Risdon asked. “Don’t you like ‘em?”. The boys replied that they were trying to raise money for their church. Then turned to leave before Risdon called them back.
Wet And Hungry
“They looked like they hadn’t eaten a meal in weeks and had been out in the rain selling their stuff for a while,” Risdon recalled.
“I can’t even count the number of times I was cold, wet and hungry in the Army. To sit in warmth and eat some tacos is a big victory for them.”
Can you boys finish off 10 tacos?” Robert asked. The two boys stopped and turned around with a huge smile on their face. They nodded proudly.
Robert got up off of his chair and brought them to the till. He told the boys that they could have anything on the menu for free. Their faces lit up. But before they agreed, they surprised Risdon further.
They rang their grandfather and asked Risdon to speak with him as proof that they weren’t using the church’s money to pay for their food. Risdon’s heart broke at their quiet obedience even though they had been walking in the rain and skipping dinner to help the church.
Risdon helped them order five tacos each, while Gibson captured the whole heartwarming encounter on video.
“They both ate their first taco in under a minute,” Gibson said. “I’ve never seen anyone devour food that quickly before.” The two men were also blown away by how respectful the two boys were.
“Everything was ‘yes sir, no sir,'” Gibson said. “Whoever is raising them is doing a great job.” But this is what one of the boys had to say to Risdon.
The youngest brother, BJ who was 9-years-old, recognized Risdon’s uniform and told him how much he wanted to be a soldier just like him when he was older.
“He was saluting me with his left hand while holding a taco in his right, which is the proper hand to use,” Risdon said. “So I made him put down the taco and taught him the proper way to salute, which will come in handy if he actually grows up to be a soldier.”
A Father’s Love
After the video of his encounter went viral, Risdon explained what was running through his mind.
“My kids were running through my mind the whole time,” he said. “The thought of my kids in their situation broke my heart, so it made me react and want to help the boys out and the least I could do was buy them some tacos.”