Our tastes tend to solidify as we grow older. The young are typically quite eager to try out all of the flavors and textures offered by the world. But over the decades we usually settle on a few specific favorites. So it’s little wonder that Doug, a 96-year old war vet, is well aware of his preferences for a good meal. However, Doug’s preferences take him beyond the norm and into the realm of the super-fan. Employees at a particular Arby’s location noticed that Doug was showing up almost every single day. It’s not rare to find people with strong preferences for a particular restaurant. But seeing someone come by every day is something of a rarity. Not to mention how rare it is to see someone nearing the triple digits make such a trek on a regular basis. Doug was such a unique visitor that employees at the Arizona Arby’s took advantage of a quiet moment to ask him a little about himself.

The employees expected Doug to have an answer that was fun or quirky. Perhaps he’d regale them with stories about how the taste matched something from decades before any of them were born. Or perhaps Doug might simply reply that the location has the best meat around. But the employees received an answer that was far more sobering. And one which reminded them to really appreciate everything in life. Because, as Doug’s story points out, there’s almost nothing in life that can be held onto forever. As it turned out Doug has a stomach condition which keeps him from being able to eat most of the foods he loved. The 96-year old man told the employees that the sandwiches at Arby’s are one of the only things that he’s able to eat. All of the employees at the location go the extra mile to help Doug out when they see him. Christina Garnage, the location’s manager, notes that they try to always get the door for him when they see the elderly gentleman reach the door.

Over time the employees have learned more about Doug and have become increasingly eager to find ways to help him. A man who bravely served his country has been largely forgotten by it. He lives in a retirement home without any meaningful family. Or, at least, that’s what Doug thought. Because family is often what we make of it rather than what we’re given. Doug came in to see the same people every day and to share a few minutes with them as he enjoyed the meal they prepared for him. It’s not a traditional type of family. But the employee’s admiration and compassion for the vet is obvious. They even slipped something amazing to him with one of his sandwiches. It was a gift card for $200. The gift card wasn’t given for any particular reason. The employees just wanted to brighten his day and make sure he knew people were thinking of him. They also gave him their phone numbers and told him to give them a call if he ever had trouble getting into the restaurant for his favorite meal. But what followed was even more amazing and really shows the power of human compassion. The location gave Doug a pass for free Arby’s. Not just for day, or even a week, but for the rest of his life.