An elderly veteran who left a heartbreaking note at his local barbershop is now being flooded with support, kind words and plenty of lunch dates.
Lyndon Dale Flowers stopped in for a haircut at Judy and Heather's Barbershop, in Lewiston, Maine, last week, and left behind a message that has now earned far more attention than he could have ever suspected.
As the veteran left the salon, he asked the owners if he could post a note inside their shop. Heather Jeselskis Swift — who makes up the "Heather" in the barbershop's name — said yes, although she didn't look at the note until Flowers left.
"I didn’t even open the note until after he left and when I opened it my heart just sank. And I felt so sad for him," Swift told In The Know.
The handwritten note, posted less than a week before Veterans Day, described a simple request: Flowers was looking for someone to spend the holiday with.
"Would someone like to take a local disabled veteran to dinner on Veterans Day? No car. My treat," Flowers' message read.
Swift decided to share the letter on her Facebook page, hoping one of her friends or clients would be free to spend the evening with Flowers. The community's response was enormous.
"It reached 10 shares, and I was like, 'Oh, that’s great. Somebody’s going to end up taking him out,'" Swift told In The Know. "And then it went to 40 shares, then like 100 shares — I was like, 'What in the world is going on?'"
Before she knew it, Swift was getting calls from local news stations, and dozens of people were stepping in to help Flowers.
Local station KARE-TV reported that one woman, Sandy Washer, drove 40 minutes with her family to take Flowers out to lunch that day. Washer, whose father spent 20 years in the army, said she has a "soft spot" for ex-military members.
And it seems like Flowers isn't stopping at one meal. Swift told In The Know the veteran has loved the attention he's gotten since his note went viral, adding that he's got plenty more dinner scheduled down the line.
"He looks forward to the phone ringing and that he has all of these new friends," Swift told In The Know.
Swift said the story has left her "eyes wide open" to the loneliness that some veterans face on a daily basis. And she's already been acting on that revelation, telling anyone who's interested that they can send gifts or letters meant for Flowers to her salon, and she'll be sure he gets them.
She also told In The Know that she's heard from people eager to help however they can, either offering to pay for Flowers' future haircuts or asking if they can mail him sweaters and other presents. In reality, Swift said Flowers really just wants someone to spend time with.
"Lots of people need financial help, but companionship — just to have a face to talk to and an ear to listen to you — I know that’s all that [he] wanted."
"It warms my heart to hear that there are people out there who care," Flowers told KARE-TV.