When A Tired Soldier Sat Down To Eat His Taco Bell, Two Figures Approached…


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Lt. Robert Risdon is familiar with feeling alone and disheartened from his years serving in the army. But the military man has always made it through the darkest of days…

Just A Normal Evening


Once a military man, Robert Risdon is now the head coach of the Columbus Lions, Fort Benning’s football team based in Columbus, Georgia. One fateful evening Risdon and his co-coach Jason Gibson went to Mobile, Alabama, to observe players practicing for the Senior Bowl. They had little idea just how their evening would surprisingly turn out.

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Taking For Granted The Little Things


Coming home from service, is a memory that Risdon has never forgotten. After the hardships of war, soldiers are finally reunited with loved ones and the warm familiarity of home. After his trying experience in the army, Risdon vowed to never take his privilege for granted.

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Escape The Storm


On their way back to Columbus, Risdon and his co-coach decided they would stop at a Taco Bell in Greenville, Alabama, to get a bite to eat and escape the grey and cold on an oncoming storm.

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Stood Frozen


Army Lt. Robert Risdon’s gaze fixed on the door of the Taco Bell as he noticed two figures enter the establishment. He was tired, but his soldier’s eyes knew these two were somehow out of place. His intensive training as an Army Ranger had become a kind of muscle memory that he could access instantly should the need arise. He didn’t want trouble today. He stood frozen, his eyes never leaving the door. And then the figures made a sudden move towards him and his fellow coach.
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Unexpected Meeting


Risdon was suddenly tense with anticipation. The other diners froze mid-bite, and craned their heads to better see the two bodies. Silence fell over the previously talkative diners. The two silhouettes moved towards him like stark shadows against the flickering light from the fluorescent sign above the entrance.

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Desperate


When Risdon was able to get a clearer view of the supposed intruders, their appearance was the first thing that he noticed. Their clothes were worn and tattered while rainwater had drenched their clothes. He took stock of the larger figure, who had his hands firmly hidden in the pockets of an over-sized windbreaker. He was suddenly shaking. From cold, or from fear?

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Cold And Wet And Hungry


Risdon, who is currently stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia, said that he and Gibson had already started eating at the restaurant when the boys, ages 9 and 13, asked if they wanted to buy anything to support a charity effort at their local church. The ranger — who said the boys looked cold and wet — asked if they had had dinner yet as it was getting late. That’s when the teen informed him of their story.

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The Question


The boys approached Risdon, carrying a tray of baked goods and pointedly asked him if he had any cash to offer them. He realized that he didn’t, since he had taken to only carrying his card.

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Soldier’s Instinct


“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 told TODAY.com. But the soldier seemed to have a strange and startling reaction to the young boys. His instincts were suddenly triggered.

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Good Deeds Make The World Go Around


“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.”

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Capturing On Camera


After ordering five tacos each, which Gibson captured on video, they sat down at a nearby table. They couldn’t believe his kindness and the two men were saddened and shocked by how hungry the two boys were.

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Bystander


One customer saw the whole episode: “I was in a taco bell tonight when two kids came in trying to sell home made desserts for money. I over heard a soldier ask the kids if they were hungry and told them to follow him to the counter, he would buy them dinner. I had to video it and share. Our troops are always taking care of us. Thank u LTC Robert Risdon please please share this….I heard the little one say I want to be just like u when I grow up and saluted him.”

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Heartwarming


“They both ate their first taco in under a minute,” Jason Gibson told TODAY.com. “I’ve never seen anyone devour food that quickly before.” Footage shows Risdon helping the boys place their orders at the nearby counter. The younger boy points to the colorful display board above the cashier with excitement.

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Showing Respect


The coaches were blown away by how respectful and well-mannered the two boys were. “Everything was ‘yes sir, no sir,'” Gibson said. “Whoever is raising them is doing a great job.” Though Risdon was without spare change, he had his trusty credit card, which he happily put to good use to buy the boys a much-deserved meal.

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Wants To Be Just Like Him


According to the men, the youngest brother, BJ, just 9 years old, recognized Risdon’s uniform and told him how much he looks up to him and wants to be just like him when he grows up. He said he admired what Risdon does for America and kept saluting the veteran soldier.

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Making An Impact


“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.”

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Calling Their Grandfather


Now heavily invested in the situation, Risdon took his kindness one step further. The boys put Risdon on the phone with their strict grandfather to prove that the soldier paid for their meals and they had not used the money they were raising for their local church.

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The Least He Could Do


“My kids were running through my mind the whole time,” Risdon 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.”

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Paying It Forward


After the video became a viral sensation online, Risdon told ABC that he was “a little embarrassed by all the exposure.”
Still, his act of generosity has touched millions of people’s hearts while the two grateful young boys are sure to remember the kindness of the soldier.

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Small Gesture Goes A Long Way


“It seemed like a very small gesture I could do for two kids that were trying to make some money in the rain on a school night, said Risdon, per a report on MailOnline. “So, absolutely it was my duty to at least get them something to eat.”

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What He Was Raised To Do


Speaking of his innate kindness and spirit of generosity, Risdon says that he only did what he “was raised to do.” Considering others and treating those with the same kindness he would expect from strangers is what Risdon considers the true measure of a good man.

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Inspiring


Risdon later told a news reporter that the boys inspired him just as much as he may have inspired them. The chance meeting truly made the soldier’s night. He also wanted to offer a piece of advice to the pair…

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Advice


Risdon said that the brothers are “two good kids and they’ve got good hearts,” and had only one piece of advice for the boys. “When you’re older and you’re in a position to help someone out — don’t pass it up,” Risdon said. It was due to something poignant and in particular that compelled him to help the boys, but what was it that triggered this gesture of good heartedness?

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Army Creed


The ranger says his motivation to help lies in the U.S. Army Rangers’ mission statement. “I think I can best sum things up as to why I did it because of a creed I live up to every day — the Ranger Creed,” the soldier said. “One line in the creed encapsulates I think why I helped, ‘Never shall I fail my comrades.’ [The boys] were my comrades … It was my DUTY to help them!”

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Humbled By The Experience


“I’m humbled by the praise and don’t need it,” Risdon told The Huffington Post. “I am a believer that we live in the best country in the world with the best people and that acts of kindness happen every day.”

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