|Anonymous Gift Overwhelms Woman With 'Half a Heart'|
|By CHRISTINA NG (@ChristinaNg27)||Mar 21, 2013, 10:15 AM|
A U.S. soldier deployed in Afghanistan was thrilled to the point of tears by $40 and a note of support for his girlfriend back home, he told ABCNews.com in a phone call from Afghanistan today.
Army Spc. Albert DeSimone said what overwhelmed him was knowing that a stranger was "there for her" while he was war.
DeSimone's girlfriend Samantha Ford was leaving a Dunkin' Donuts Sunday in Arlington, Mass., when she saw a white envelope tucked under the windshield wiper on her car. She has a bumper sticker that reads, "1/2 of my heart is in Afghanistan."
Written on the outside of the envelope was a note that read, "I noticed the sticker on the back of your car. Take your hero out to dinner when he comes home. Thank you both for serving. Him deployed and you for waiting."
It was signed, "United States Veteran, God Bless." There were two $20 bills inside the envelope.
Ford, 24, was so moved by the note that she posted a picture of it with the money to her Facebook page and to a group Facebook page called "Our Deployment 101," where military families share stories and words of encouragement.
"There are no words to describe how I'm feeling right now," Ford wrote when she posted the photo. "Tears in my eyes. I just wish I could thank whoever did this! God bless our troops and all of those who stand behind them."
She wasn't the only person who was touched by the note. The Facebook photo has been liked 1.7 million times and shared more than 221,000 times in five days.
DeSimone, 25, told ABCNews.com via Skype from Afghanistan today that he was touched by the photo when Ford sent it to him.
"I thought it was absolutely unbelievable and it brought tears to my eyes because it just made me feel good that people back home were there to be there for her, which has made her feel really good," DeSimone said. "Plus, a veteran himself doing that for her and me just let me know that there's still amazing people out there."
DeSimone is a specialist with the 2nd Battalion 7th Infantry Regiment and was deployed in September 2012. He said he is not allowed to say where he is stationed other than Afghanistan.
He was talking to Ford on Skype after she posted the photo and the two of them watched it go viral.
"We could not believe it," he said. "All of a sudden, the people I'm here with that are from all over the U.S. were telling me that their friends were re-posting it and liking it and they didn't even get it from my wall or their walls. They just got it from their friend and their friends and their friends."
DeSimone's mother Debra DeSimone has also been amazed by the random act of kindness and its reception. She said it gave her chills and made her cry.
"You just don't see too many people out here that will take that extra minute to stop and even read a bumper sticker," she said. "And having it been a veteran that actually saw it even made it more special, that it was somebody that recognized and has probably been through the situation themselves."
"Someone out there is appreciating what he is doing and what all soldiers are doing, actually, not just him," the proud mom said.
DeSimone and Ford don't expect that the generous veteran will come forward since they believe he or she just wanted to perform an anonymous act of kindness, but they hope the veteran will see in the news how much the gesture has meant to them.
"Hopefully, her or she was sitting in their house watching the news and they saw how much it touched our lives and made us happy and it made me proud to be in the military and doing what I'm doing," DeSimone said.
Minutes after hanging up with ABCNews.com, DeSimone called back and asked that one more important message be included in the story.
"I am madly in love with Samantha and she's the most amazing girlfriend in the world," he said.