TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A World War II veteran in California turned his 92nd birthday party into a day of doing good.
The Orange County Register reported Edmund Rusinek celebrated his birthday at a Rossmoor Chick-fil-A last weekend and bought more than $1,500 worth of meals for military families that were patrons of the restaurant.
Rusinek, who turns 92 years old in a few days, told the newspaper he was trying to pay it forward.
“Someone did it for me, and I want to do it for others,” he said.
“This tradition, so to speak, got started in 1945 when I was a draftee training in Little Rock, Arkansas,” Rusinek said. “To take a break from the GI food, some of my buddies and I left base for some good ol’ Southern food.
“At the restaurant, an elderly gentleman stepped up to us and asked, ‘Can you do me a favor? Will you let me buy your lunch? If you want to thank me, pass it down.’”
Rusinek has been “passing it down” ever since and asks strangers the same question: “Can you do me a favor and let me buy you lunch?”
Rusinek said he chose the fast-food chain because “A lot of military people and their families go there,” and he wants “them to know that someone cares.”