AVENTURA (CBSMiami) – Every Veteran’s Day, George Katzman slips on his old service uniform jacket, showing pride for the job he and his fellow soldiers did during World War II.
“This is exactly the same jacket, this jacket is 70 years old,” he told CBS4’s Ted Scouten.READ MORE: Condo Collapse: Three Bodies Pulled From Rubble Overnight, Crews Continue Search For Survivors
When he wore this jacket at the end of the war, he was part of the liberation of Jews from concentration camps. Decades later, he wore that same jacket to the Olive Garden in Aventura, of all places, on Veterans day.
He was touched that people remembered his service and were grateful. “These two women stopped by and one of them shook my hand and said, ‘thank you for your service,’ which a number of people say that, and I thought nothing of it.”
But when he got his check, he remembered that conversation. “A few minutes later I asked for the check,” explained Katzman.
“Sorry, can’t have it,” replied a restaurant employee.
“Why?” asked Katzman.READ MORE: Condo Collapse: Families Anxiously Await Word On Loved Ones
“It’s paid for,” was the reply.
He’s not sure if those women paid for it, but thinks they did.
On Veteran’s Day, vets eat free at the Olive Garden, but a kind stranger made sure he, his wife Ellen and their daughter were covered too. “I was really overwhelmed, touched, pay it forward,” said Ellen Katzman. “I’ve heard it happen in grocery lines before, but I’ve never seen that and I certainly have never been touched by it.”
Kerry Forrest was the Katzman’s server. She also waited on the people who took care of their check. “I went and I brought them their check,” said Forrest. “They went ahead and took care of it, they said ‘please don’t say anything,’ they just said that ‘thank you for your service.’”
“That’s never happened to me before, in my almost 94 years,” said George. “I was stunned and I said there’s still nice people out there.”MORE NEWS: President Biden Declares State Of Emergency In Florida After Surfside Condo Collapse
Nearly seven decades later, George’s service and brave example still touches lives where ever he goes. “It actually gave me a little bit of hope,” said Forrest, “that this can happen more than once, that other people will do something like that, it was really nice.”