MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WHNT) - There is a WWII veteran in the Shoals who undoubtedly feels the love pouring in from his community - in the form of Subway sandwiches.
What started as a way to say "thank you" to 93-year-old Mr. Gilbert, as he likes to be called, has turned into a routine that has captured hearts in Muscle Shoals.
"I have been coming here for two or three years," Gilbert said. "I always really order the same thing."
Like clockwork, Mr. Gilbert is at the Woodward Ave. Subway for a turkey sandwich and a drink. He said one kind gesture has turned into a mission of sorts to buy Mr. Gilbert's turkey sub lunch for as long as possible.
"I remember one day I was coming in and some lady was in front of me paying for her lunch," he said. "And, she turned around to me and said, 'Is that your car out there?' And I said, 'Yeah. That's right.' She said, 'Well, I want to buy your lunch.' So, I said 'I appreciate it.'"
Since then, hundreds have made the same gesture. Enough to make him smile every day he walks in for lunch.
"They tell me when I come in, 'Your lunch is paid for.' I said, 'Well who paid for it?' They say, 'We don't know. Some man came in. He's gone.' I kept talking to them and said 'Who is it?' And, it kept coming up and up."
Subway employees said Mr. Gilbert will likely never have to pay for his turkey sub ever again.
"They see me coming now and they just fix it. I don't even have to tell them."
It's a heartfelt thank you to man who served his country in places from Australia to Japan.
"There's a lot of good people in the world still."
He has plenty of stories to share and a lot of time to tell them. So, if you're around Subway on Woodward Ave. in Muscle Shoals, stop in. Take a seat and just listen. It's a lunch date you won't regret.
You can stop by any time and tell employees that you'd like to buy Mr. Gilbert's lunch. If you do, you'll also get a free six inch sub. So, if he's there, sit down and have lunch with him. He'd love the company.