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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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High-five: Korean War veteran, wife appreciate stranger’s gesture

From staff reports

Jim and Mildred Valentine of Cheney said they had an unexpectedly emotional visit Nov. 12 at Panda Express restaurant in Airway Heights.

Before Jim Valentine could pay for their order, the cashier told him the meal had been purchased by another customer.

“It was so nice. It’s not about the money, but the fact he did it,” Valentine said.

He said he tried to thank the man who paid for the meal but was overcome and couldn’t speak the words.

“I’m 88 years old, and I became emotional. It’s shocking that someone would do that.”

His wife thanked the man, Jim Valentine said.

“He said he was proud to be able to do it and thanked me for my service,” Jim Valentine said.

Valentine was wearing a hat that said combat veteran of the Korean War and a jacket emblazoned with the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Cheney logo. He enlisted at age 17 with the U.S. Army in 1949, later becoming one of the “Chosin Few,” the survivors of the storied Battle of the Chosin Reservoir in 1950 in North Korea.

Because of COVID-19 and masked faces, Jim Valentine said he wouldn’t recognize the man if they met again.

“I want to thank him and to tell him we appreciated it very much,” he said.

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