“Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Risdon had no idea he was being watched, let alone recorded, when he went to a Taco Bell in Mobile, Alabama to grab some dinner. Unbeknownst to the uniformed soldier, he’d captured the attention of Jason Gibson, a man who was sitting alone and eating his meal.
Both Risdon and Gibson quickly noted a couple of boys darting around the front of the restaurant. When Risdon overheard what the boys were up to, he wanted to ask them a question, and it nearly left Gibson choking on his burrito. Gibson whipped out his phone and started to record.
The two young boys, aged 9 and 13, had seemingly been left alone at the fast-food joint, hoping to sell some items from home. They were peddling homemade desserts in an effort to raise money for their local church. Unfortunately, Army Lieutenant Colonel Risdon didn’t have any cash on him.
Risdon could have simply declined, demanded to know where their parents were, or pretended not to see them at all. But he couldn’t ignore the children. The soldier had quickly noticed the boys looked cold and wet, and it was getting late, so he asked them if they had anything to eat for dinner yet. They hadn’t.
What happened next was captured on camera by Gibson, who was so affected that he uploaded the video to Facebook and begged others to share it. “I was in Taco Bell tonight when two kids came in trying to sell homemade desserts for money. I overheard 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,” Gibson wrote in the video caption.
Explaining how the kind-hearted soldier invited the boys up to the register, where he told them to order whatever they wanted to fill their bellies, dinner was on him. With huge smiles and hearts full of gratitude for the stranger, the boys danced around with excitement as they awaited their warm meals.
On top of buying tacos and drinks for the kids, Risdon shared a friendly conversation with them. It was a moving sight to say the least, and Gibson wasn’t the only one left feeling proud of those who bravely serve our country wherever they are. The footage touched tens of thousands of people who were compelled to share the inspirational clip across social media as the video went viral.
More was learned about the heroic soldier, Robert Risdon, a U.S. Army Ranger and a father of two stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia. Helping them was an easy decision, more of a reaction. “They were cold, wet, and hungry. They were great kids, very respectful and smart,” he said. “It was the least I could do for two young Americans. They were happy to get some chow for sure and very thankful.”
Risdon says his motivation to help lies in the U.S. Army Rangers’ mission statement. “I think I could best sum things up as to why I did it because of a Creed I live up to every day, the Ranger Creed,” he said. One line in the Creed encapsulates, I think, why I helped: ‘Never shall I fail my comrades,’ calling the boys comrades. He added, “It was my duty to help them.”
Praise for his actions flooded social media, but Risdon admitted, “I’m kind of embarrassed and humbled by the praise,” but he was quick to say he doesn’t need it. Further explaining what he meant, Risdon added, “I’m a believer that we live in the best country in the world with the best people and that acts of kindness happen every day.”
Others see things differently, however. Our troops are always taking care of us. Gibson’s caption to the video that captured the soldier’s good deed continued. He went on to thank Lieutenant Colonel Risdon and asked others to please, please share this, adding, “I heard the little one say, ‘I want to be just like you when I grow up,’ and saluted him.”
Indeed, the world could use a lot more like Robert Risdon, who will always be remembered not only by these boys but all others who got to see and enjoy his spontaneous act of kindness. He proved that our soldiers are honorable men, always looking out for their fellow Americans, big or small.
Our brave men and women in the military give so much, both on and off the battlefield. Robert Risdon is proof, and sometimes it’s the smallest acts that make the biggest impact in ways we may not have ever imagined. We only aimed to fill two bellies that day, but this soldier touched hearts everywhere.
The least we can do is give him some well-earned recognition.”