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July 29, 2005

Marine has farewell dinner with family before shipping off to Iraq. Stranger picks up the tab.

On Tuesday night, July 26th, 2005, a proud father offered to take his son out for a special dinner. Mark Hickethier's son, Matt, had joined the Marines, and this would be one of their last meals together before he shipped out to Iraq, for a tour of duty expected to last one year.

They decided to go to The Fort in Morrison, Colorado, which is about two miles from my house, as the crow flies. It's one of the nicest, most expensive restaurants in the Denver area. It's where President Bill Clinton ate when he visited.

The son, Matt Hickethier, decided to wear his Dress Blues. His mother, sister, and father all dressed for the occasion. They spared no expense on their meal, ordering whatever they desired, regardless of the price, including champagne, appetizers, and dessert.

But when it came time to pay the bill, they had a surprise coming. The gentleman that had been sitting at the table next to them during their meal had picked up their tab. And left. The anonymous stranger had picked up on what was going on, and picked up their tab. He'd left his credit card tab open to cover anything they wanted, and then discreetly left the restaurant, stipulating that The Fort not reveal his identity.

This sounds like one of those chain emails and rumors that you read on the internet, but it isn't. It happened right here at The Fort in Morrison, Colorado. The Local Channel 9 News (NBC) aired the story last night. I called The Fort tonight and verified the story with the manager. He said it happened Tuesday night.
Update: Welcome Michelle Malkin visitors. (My server is smoking right now.) While you're here, check out some of my original short stories about the Bahamas, Hawaii, the Continental Divide, and the pain of being alive. I'm also selling my 1945 "Duck"(DUKW). Thanks for visiting!
Update 2: I'm really getting hammered here. Not sure what to do. Probably need to get someone to host my site for me, but I'm short of funds, and will need to do some research before I make a decision on whom to go with. Post comments if you have any suggestions on a good company. For what it's worth, I run my site on an XP box running IIS with MySQL, Perl, and Movable Type. So, would want to find a provider that would work with my configuration.

Update 3. I added this commentary about why the MSM ignores this story even though it has legs.

America is a nation of torpid couch maggots, writhing lethargically in Lazy Boy recliners in the dim FCC-approved glow of a fear-peddling talking head on drive-in-sized plasma screen TV. I don’t own a television. OK, my friends gave me one when the quit for Amsterdam, but there’s only one and I’m not overly compelled to bask in front of the electron beams emanating from the cathode ray picture tube.

The Main Stream Media Barons are eating their hands

Update 4. Welcome Hugh Hewitt visitors. Sorry the web site is so slow, but I'm getting hammered. (Errr....scratch that...my server is getting hammered.) I fled my swamped PC today and took my daughter fishing. She caught a rainbow trout, but, to her, a big part of fishing is splashing around and getting muddy, and if it makes her happy, it makes me happy. :)

Update 5. I've added a Pay Pal Tip Jar, per the feedback I received. It was actually pretty simple. I've posted directions on How to add a Pay Pal Tip Jar to your website.

Tip Jar

Now, if there were just some way I could test the PayPal Tip Jar to see if it works... ;)

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on July 29, 2005 at 09:57 PM


This is the true America. I am sure there are many stories like this one because of the terrific job the forces are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The entire world is seeing what compassion is, through the actions of American forces lead by a president who has a great deal of respect for his troops and lets the world and more important them know how valuable they are to the entire world.

Posted by: cjg on July 30, 2005 at 09:39 AM

I agree, the American military has the finest men and women in the world, even though several of them have been destroyed by the left wing liberals and the former MSM over college pranks pulled on prisoners, and that's all they did, the same pranks pulled every year when newbie's join a Frat. I'm waiting for the new classes to start and will insist that all college pranks be treated as felonies and the students involved + all of the college administrators by charged with such and held accountable. I'm sure that millions of true Americans will support the effort to give tit for tat.

Posted by: scrapiron on July 30, 2005 at 10:25 AM

It has been a very long time since any serviceman eating in the same restaurant as I has had to pay for his own meal. (But of course I eat at WAY cheaper restaurants than the Fort.)

I can tell you from experience what happens if you don't pay for the check anonymously. The soldiers come to your table. They thank you profusely. Then they insist on paying their own check. Then you say, "Look, it's the least we can do for you guys."

And they look you eye, and with utter sincerity tell you, "Sir, it's an honor to serve."

So you can't let them know who you are or else they'll refuse your money.

Posted by: Ken Pierce on July 30, 2005 at 10:26 AM

Hello from Toronto Canada.

May G*d bless America and protect your sons and daughters as they serve and protect freedom in a part of the world that has never known anything but despots.

And I would ask our American cousins to remember that our sons and daughters have served together for decades, and continue to do so even today in Afghanistan and other areas.

The rantings of our Liberal apologists notwithstanding, the vast majority of Canadians appreciate the fact that the west is now at war, and that America's military and social strength defend us all.

Posted by: Lost Budgie on July 30, 2005 at 02:14 PM

What a great heartwarming story!

I followed the link over from Hugh Hewitt's blog. No wonder you're getting hammered -- better hope Istapundit doesn't link! Put up a Paypal button and request emergency donations. :)

Posted by: Jo on July 30, 2005 at 02:40 PM

I suppose it never occured to any of the wingnut right that maybe, just maybe, the person who paid for the meal was a liberal who knows the difference between "supporting the troops" and opposing bad policy.

Posted by: Brian on July 30, 2005 at 04:58 PM

I don't think so Brian, but thank you for your attempt at humour.

You cannot support the troops without supporting the policy.

-- Nora

Posted by: The thin Man Returns on July 30, 2005 at 05:35 PM

Brian posts: "I suppose it never occured to any of the wingnut right that maybe, just maybe, the person who paid for the meal was a liberal who knows the difference between "supporting the troops" and opposing bad policy."

Sorry, Brian, but the odds that a liberal actually paid for that family's meal are more astronomical than Al Sharpton winning in '08.

USMC Field Radio Operator

Posted by: J75flpside on July 30, 2005 at 05:45 PM

What planet are you from Brian? Nobody's gonna believe that crap. LIBERALS ARE LAME! I am ashamed for you people. PERIOD! One only has to listen to about 10 min. of Air America to relealize where your ilk comes from. Disgraceful.

Posted by: Randy on July 30, 2005 at 06:24 PM

Right, Brian. Go back under your rock. I think you've missed a lot about your liberal friend's attitudes and behaviors in the last three years.

Your lefty friends have consistently treated the military as scum of the earth unless politically expedient to pretend otherwise.

Posted by: penny on July 30, 2005 at 06:56 PM

"So you can't let them know who you are or else they'll refuse your money."

Even for drinks, Ken. You should have seen the fight we had last summer trying to pay for 2 AF guys we'd been drinking with all evening. They kept throwing money into the pot and we kept throwing it back at them. They finally gave up when they saw how outnumbered they were.

Great guys, great evening. More than worth what we each paid. They'll never pay for a drink or meal when any of us are around.

Our nation is truly blessed to have such defenders as these.

BTW - Brian, did your mother have any children who lived?

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut on July 30, 2005 at 07:11 PM

To Brian: Ah, the moonbat-arrogant-pompous Left raises its head out of the muck and spits. Lovely as always. Sheesh.

Posted by: KJB43 on July 30, 2005 at 07:12 PM

The enjoyment of helping someone is greater when doing it because one really wants to and not for personal attention. By letting someone know who did the helping, it leads people to think they did it for the attention. So, since that isn't the motive, the result is to ask not to be named or just fade into the woodwork somewhere.

Your server has been "Malkinized!" :)

Posted by: Shannon on July 30, 2005 at 08:19 PM

Thanks for a great post. It is good to know that there are a lot of patriotic Americans left. With all the America haters we see on the MSM day after day after day...
God bless you.
I relly needed to read this
An old exJarhead
A 1/5 Nam 1967+68

Posted by: Rod Stanton on July 30, 2005 at 08:30 PM

I linked your excellent post. I sometimes get up to 30 visits a day so be prepared for more traffic.

Posted by: Retired Geezer on July 30, 2005 at 08:39 PM

Wallie - re: your server - as Jo suggested, put up a PayPal button (no, I don't know how, but I'm betting PayPal will make it easy).

I've got an auction ending tomorrow on eBay and as soon as I'm paid I'll be making a round of blog tips. Might as well make you one of them. (But ya' gotta have a PayPal button for that to work.) ;-p

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut on July 30, 2005 at 09:10 PM

Most definitely a good samaritan. This should happen more often and you can bet it will never be told by the mainstream left-wing news media.

Posted by: mad heron on July 30, 2005 at 09:21 PM

Great story! My son (82nd Airborne) has experienced similar things. Did I mention that I happen to have a picture of him at http://www.area417.com/area_417/2005/07/sgt_j_the_golde.html?

Posted by: PC on July 30, 2005 at 09:31 PM

It's infuriating that we have to go 'searching' for stories such as this because the MSM refuses to acknowledge that they even exist. Thanks so much for posting this. It brought a smile to my face first thing this morning. And get the PayPal button! Sort of along the lines of help us to help you!

Posted by: dustoffmom on July 31, 2005 at 05:33 AM

I use www.site5.com to host my MT blog Vorlon Whispers. For $84 a year you get 3GB of space and 50GB of bandwidth.

Posted by: Ted on July 31, 2005 at 06:05 AM

Wait, wait! I think Brian's on to something. You see, this was an act of selflessness. Anonymous charity. By definition it HAD to be a lib because, as WE ALL KNOW conservatives are just a bunch of greedy, bigoted, homophobic, oligarchic, oil-swilling, Klan members who live to steal from the poor, starve the young, pollute the environment and ruin public education!!!


Posted by: Scott on July 31, 2005 at 06:17 AM

"XP box running IIS with MySQL, Perl, and Movable Type. So, would want to find a provider that would work with my configuration."

You should be able to get a site at http://textdrive.com/ who provides affordable hosting and they have the ability to use the lighttpd web server instead of Apache to handle even a huge Slashdot Effect which is much bigger then the hammering you are seeing now. XP and IIS are not designed for heavy loads. Although Textdrive runs Apache, they have found that the newer lighttpd server has a smaller memory footprint and serves pages much faster then Apache. It's a lightweight fast web server where Apache is like a swiss army knife.

http://textdrive.com/specs/ - Movable Type and full Perl support available. Very affordable - http://textdrive.com/plans/

High skilled team of Unix Guru's to handle your support needs as well. In addition, a portion of your subscription goes to the open source project of choice.

Posted by: Jbrickley on July 31, 2005 at 06:29 AM

Great story! I've done the same thing on a number of occasions. It makes you feel REAL good.

Posted by: Steve on July 31, 2005 at 09:29 AM

Good morning,

This is an uplifting story, one which can be appreciated by any American. It exemplifies the inherent kindness in all of us.

I am a liberal democrat and would most certainly acknowledge to any solider my appreciation for the fact that they are in our military. I would also say a silent pray to God to keep them safe. I am foremost an American. I greatly object to the incorrect labeling that goes on in this blog with regard to democrats or liberals. How absurd for any of you to not permit the voice of freedom with regard to this war. The first amendment of the constitution allows freedom of voice - and no political entity can prohibit freedom of thought.

My question is this - why can't the story stand on it's own without throwing darts as those who disagree with the war??????????????????

Posted by: Laura on July 31, 2005 at 09:44 AM

While the restaurant knows the man's name, they have said only that he's a businessman from Texas who was in town for a few days.

HOOAH....my wife just asked me when I was in Colorado...hehe.

There are some great folks out there who DO GET IT. When I got back from Iraq, some buds and I (in uniform) were gettin lunch in a Houson restaurant and some woman did the same thing. We were floored. She just told our waiter to put it on her tab and left the establishment. She wouldnt even let us thank her.

G*d speed Matt Hickethier...be safe and keep your powder dry!!


Posted by: Draco on July 31, 2005 at 10:37 AM

Laura has a good point in that I believe there are a few libs who, while being misguided to the point of no return on so many issues still have enough residual common sense and decency to appreciate the sacrifices of those who serve us all so well in the military. Unfortunately, she seriously dilutes any points she may have made with her reference to "no political entity" prhohibiting freedom of thought. Firstly, the first ammendment deals strictly with actions of the government not private individuals such as the this blogger or those commenting. Second, the ammendment deals with "speach" not "thought" and I'm sure no one reading this blog would contemplate trying to prevent her from having whatever thoughts she wishes. When you express those thoughts as speach however, they are fair game for critisism.

Posted by: SuperChief on July 31, 2005 at 10:38 AM

I can personally say that I feel a great deal of animosity toward the liberal media because they've been peddling the weak-kneed liberal agenda on the sly for so long. We finally got Fox News so at least someone can make sense when they speak on television. I literally quit watching TV news shows and quit reading the newspapers because they were so biased I couldn't take it. This is my opportunity to put my voice out there. If you don't like it, don't read it. Start your own web site. It's a free country. (Until the McCain Feinstein bill and the FEC shut down free speech and the UN takes over the internet.)

Posted by: Peenie Wallie on July 31, 2005 at 10:39 AM

How absurd for any of you to not permit the voice of freedom with regard to this war. The first amendment of the constitution allows freedom of voice
Posted by: Laura on July 31, 2005 at 09:44 AM

How is your freedom of voice being silenced? Who is not permitting you to speak?

Posted by: Robert on July 31, 2005 at 11:26 AM

Peenie Wallie, what the heck are those things coming out of the crt in your monitor? Inquiring minds etc.

For the Gyrene, Ooh Rah!

For the Texan, God bless you sir.

Posted by: Mike H. on July 31, 2005 at 12:08 PM

I am a liberal democrat.....I greatly object to the incorrect labeling that goes on in this blog with regard to democrats or liberals.

Laura, if you are a liberal Democrat still and appreciate our military, then I can only say you don't get out much or mingle with your cohorts.

Just what is it that you still don't get about your "liberal democrats" friends smearing of all things patriotic and military? You seem to be oblivious of the ACLU, the NYT's, the BBC, Pilger, Fisk, Galloway, Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, all of the major labor unions, feminists, academia, Dan "Fake but Accurate" Rather.... and all positions of the liberal Dems/left which are anti-military and self-defense.

Either you live in a cave or are one of their Useful Idiots which keeps the Dems afloat in times of serious national crisis.

Hey, Laura, the Iraqis, 26 million in number, aren't in the form of terrorism or massive public demonstrations "disagreeing" about the war. Your "disagreement" doesn't seem to jive with the people that should be disagreeing. Just a thought.

Posted by: penny on July 31, 2005 at 04:56 PM

Easy Chief! We just stopped by, courtesy of Michelle, to read a blind linked story. Most readers don't even know what they are linking to, which is one of the weird aspects of blogs like Michelle's and Glenn's.

So, consider the possibility that on Tuesday nobody will be on your site, and your server will be fine.

Great story about the Marine in Denver.

Posted by: Jaibones on July 31, 2005 at 08:29 PM

Great story! God bless Matt and his family!

Just a thought - all the political discussion going on in these comments are taking the focus off of a great show of support for a Servicemember and putting it on political crap.

Who cares whether it was a conservative or a liberal who paid for the family's dinner? Does that have ANYTHING to do with this story? I thought this was a story about someone showing appreciation - the individual remained anonymous to keep the focus off of him or her. Please save your political comments for political stories!

Posted by: Maryanne on August 01, 2005 at 05:23 PM