Waitress pays for soldiers' lunch amid gov't shutdown

Waitress picks up the tab for furloughed solders' lunch. (Source: WMUR/CNN)
Waitress picks up the tab for furloughed solders' lunch. (Source: WMUR/CNN)

CONCORD, NH (WMUR/CNN) – When a New Hampshire waitress overheard two of her customers saying they were furloughed soldiers, she decided to help out.

It was a typical Wednesday afternoon shift for Sarah Hoidahl at the Ruby Tuesday in Concord, NH when two service members came in for lunch and sat in her section.

"They were looking through the menu and trying to decide what to get, and she had mentioned something about the furlough and said 'we're not getting paid,' and I thought, oh jeez," said Hoidahl.

Hoidahl, a single mother of a 15-month-old boy says she knows how difficult it can be to make ends meet.

"Just thinking to myself 'that must be really difficult just because the income stops, it doesn't mean the bills do,'" said Hoidahl.

She decided to pick up their tab, and added a note on the back of their check expressing her gratitude for their service.

"I was just thinking to myself and I thought, you know what, I'm going to buy their food today," said Hoidahl. "It's good karma – do something nice for someone else."

She says the reaction she got from the National Guard members was more than she expected.

"I came out, and they were out front waiting for me and just, instantly, came up to me and said 'Sarah' and they hugged me," Hoidahl said. "Their reaction was, worth everything – I thought I didn't do this huge thing – I just bought you lunch but thank you!"

News of the kind gesture quickly spread online. The New Hampshire National Guard posted a picture of Sarah and a copy of her note on their Facebook page. Hoidahl says the response she's received was overwhelming.

"I think the most moving thing I saw on Facebook was people saying there should be more people like me in the world," Hoidahl said. "That really got to me."

Hoidahl says she has friends who have served in the military and her boyfriend is a Marine. She admires what they do for us, and says this was the least she could do for them.

"I mean, they protect this country and the protect citizens like me, so, a nice thing to do," said Hoidahl.

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