A man in Durham, North Carolina, bought 11 servicemen meals at a local Chick-fil-A in remembrance of his late veteran stepbrother who served for four years. After purchasing their meal, 34-year-old Jonathan Full thanked the military personnel for their service and asked them for a simple favor in exchange.
“[My] message to them was to reach out to their fellow servicemen and help anyone with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) because I just lost my brother to it,” Full tells Yahoo Lifestyle. His stepbrother Joshua served as a marine in Afghanistan and took his own life the week prior.
“It was a way for me to express my gratitude for what they do and help me grieve for my brother,” says the Durham native who works as an equipment technician. “And [I wanted to] give back to them for what burdens they will now carry for life to help us.”
On March 9, Jonathan and Stephen Full took their kids to Chick-fil-A to give their wives Alex and Nikki Full time to shop. After two military personnel lined up to order, Jonathan Full immediately got up and offered to pay for their meal. The two servicemen quickly turned into eleven, but Full “didn’t even bat an eye, ” wrote Stephen in a Facebook post. He asked people in line to allow the other nine to cut in front so he could foot the bill for all of their meals.
“While my brother was up and talking to the soldiers, I explained to my son and nephew about how it was Jonathan’s honor to be able to buy them a meal and say thanks for our freedom and thanks for keeping us safe,” Stephen Full, 36, tells Yahoo. “This is how good starts, with teaching our kids and showing them how to show respect and honor. ”
Although the servicemen initially rejected Full’s offer to purchase their meals, his step brother’s story made them change their minds. “Their first response was ‘It’s ok I can buy my own meal,’ but I didn’t accept that,” says Full. “I asked them to help anyone they knew in service that has PTSD.”
Now, the Durham native is receiving praise online for paying it forward after his brother Stephen posted a photo of the “proud big brother moment.”
“Taught our boys to take care of the people that take care of us,” Stephen Full wrote on Facebook. “Please share this, in expanding efforts for PTSD support for the men and women that fight for our country everyday.”
“A beautiful gesture of kindness and caring; not surprised at all but truly touched,” commented one Facebook user. “Thank you for treating them and for providing the guidance to others to do the same.”
A partner of one of the servicewomen that Full purchased a meal for also responded to the post, thanking the brothers for their support. “We both serve in the military and understand the struggles our brothers and sisters in arms face,” she wrote. “Even those small gestures mean so much. We’re terribly sorry for your loss.”
While the Full brothers are earning praise from those online, they hope the message that people take away “is to take care of the people who take care of us with their lives.”
“I want serviceman and women to know that PTSD is not always visible. Please, please talk to someone,” says Stephen Full. “I know you are broken, but we can put the pieces back together and get you fixed, make you whole again.”
Adds Jonathan, “Reach out and help with PTSD. Hopefully, it can save just one life.”
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