KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Vietnam veteran got quite the surprise Friday after a stranger knocked on his door and handed his nephew a paper bag saying it was a gift for the man who owns the home.
"I feel like my guardian angel said, 'Hey, they could use a little something right now,'" said Walter Brogdon III.
He is an Army and Navy veteran and he said this stranger’s gift came at a good time.
"I feel good. I was feeling a little bit depressed a while ago but now I've been thinking about what I'm going to do to pay this forward," he said. "We've got a lot of things on us and boy he picked the right person if he picked me and doesn't know me."
Brogdon was injured years ago and now requires assistance to walk. When the doorbell rang, he said he couldn't get it. His nephew greeted the stranger and as quickly as he arrived, he vanished, Brogdon said.
His nephew was left at the door in sheer surprise, holding a bag from the stranger.
Inside it — $300 cash and a $100 gift card to Cracker Barrel.
"That gentleman said he had a gift for the man of the house, but he looked like he didn't know my name. My nephew Willie said, 'You mean Walt?' and he said, 'Yeah, yeah Walt and his wife,'" he said.
He never caught a glimpse of the man who dropped off the surprise, but he has an inkling about who it could be.
"I tend to be leaning toward one of the veterans I've helped," he said.
Brogdon is no stranger to acts of kindness. He's made it his life's mission to help other disabled veterans with the paperwork process to receive benefits. He said it took him about 10 years to finally get his benefits and he doesn’t want a veteran to wind up homeless because of the complicated process.
"It just takes so long and how are you going to live 10 years if you're disabled with nothing coming in?" he said.
Another clue to the identity of the mystery man, Brogdon said, is the Cracker Barrel gift card.
"I'd go pull people's check off their table and pay their bill, especially if they have kids. It just makes you feel good," he said.
Brogdon loves doing kind things for others and this random act of kindness, he said, feels like karma.
If that kind stranger is reading this article right now, Walt wants to share his gratitude for the gesture.
"Thank you very much. You're a gentleman and, I didn't ask for anything. Rest assured, I'm going to pay it forward," he said.
He said he hopes that if enough people pay it forward, the world will be a better place.