Old Veteran Sells His Medals to Buy Groceries, Next Day Sees Military Band Playing At His Yard

When a 93-year-old war veteran had no money to buy groceries, he sold his prestigious medals, unaware of what he was actually giving away. The next day, he woke up to a loud military band playing outside his house.

Some of the hardest sacrifices require the strongest will. Sometimes, you are pushed to make those difficult choices to bring a ray of sunshine into someone’s life. But what 93-year-old war veteran Jacob Rivas did was a little too extreme and proved that sacrifice is always mixed in a soldier’s blood.
For over 66 years, there hadn’t been a day when Jacob didn’t admire his esteemed medals. They were the only treasured items that reminded him of his bravery in camouflage. But one day, he decided to sell them to buy food, unaware of what he was actually giving away…
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels
World War II destroyed more than a dream for many brave warriors. Patrick Jones was one among the hundreds of thousands who lost their lives. He was also Jacob’s best friend in the army, and on his deathbed, he asked Jacob to make him a promise—to take care of his wife after he was gone.

“This is purely business, and no sentiments are attached,” thought the antique store owner. But when he rummaged through the box of medals, he found something that moved him to tears.

Heartbroken to see his dear friend dying, Jacob held Patrick’s hand and promised to look after his wife, Sophia, until his last breath. But little did he know how this promise would affect him in the coming years.
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pixabay
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pixabay
After the war ended in 1945, Jacob continued to serve in the military until retirement. His dedication to serving his nation consumed most of his personal life. When he retired, he had already stepped into his early 60s and was still unmarried.
His friend’s wife Sophia lived in the same town, and he often visited her with some help, either money or groceries. After Patrick’s death, Sophia lived alone and never had any children. Although she was reluctant to accept help from her husband’s friend, she agreed to honor his last wish. As time passed, life kept changing its course for the two.
Jacob had nobody since he was raised in an orphanage, and he always considered Sophia his sister. Though he had decided to spend the rest of his days in peace, he still wanted to contribute to society. That’s when the Troops-to-Teachers program pushed the veteran from the front line to the front of the classroom.

Jacob taught literature in a local school for 10 years. During this time, he never felt the lack of anyone in his life. He loved being around the younger generation and had no regrets in choosing to remain single all his life. However, his commitment to taking care of Sophia slowly nibbled at his savings after he retired from teaching.
Gradually, there came a time when Jacob could barely afford enough for himself, yet, he was determined to keep the promise he made to his late friend.
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels
One day, Jacob went to the supermarket to buy groceries for himself and Sophia. It was the same time every month he usually went shopping for foodstuff. He walked around the aisle and was shocked to see the prices of the items had increased.
Jacob took out the wad of cash from his pocket and began counting. He realized he barely had enough to buy groceries for himself, let alone Sophia.
“What would I tell her? She must be waiting, and I cannot let her down without any food this month,” he muttered and walked out to the nearest ATM to check his balance. To his dismay, he only had $30.
Jacob was restless. He thought about the old stuff at home he could sell in exchange for money. He’d already sold his old gramophone and a few pieces of furniture the last time he had run out of cash. He kept thinking, and his thoughts led him to the glass shelf with his esteemed medals.
“That’s it!” Jacob exclaimed and rushed home. He assembled all his medals in a box. They were dear to his heart, but he had no choice but to sell them to buy food.
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pixabay
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pixabay
Heartbroken, Jacob marched to an antique store. At first, the store owner, Billy Simpson, thought the man had visited to buy something. “Hello, Mr. Rivas! What are you looking for?” he asked.
“I am not here to buy anything. I want to sell these,” Jacob said, unboxing the medals.
“Sell these? But why do you want to sell your memorable medals?” Billy exclaimed in shock after seeing one of the medals.
“I’m a war veteran and a forgotten hero. I am hungry and I don’t have enough money to buy food, so I’d like to sell these,” Jacob said sadly. “If it was just me, I’d manage. But there’s someone else out there depending on me for help. I cannot put her to starve.”
The veteran’s story moved Billy. Although he was reluctant to trade the prestigious medals for money, he extended a wad of cash worth $250 and took the box. He watched the old veteran, unable to hold back his tears. “This is purely business, and no sentiments are attached,” thought Billy. But when he rummaged through the box, he found something that moved him to tears.
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels
That evening, Jacob bought groceries and delivered half of them to Sophia’s house. He returned home with a heavy heart, unable to look at the empty shelf that was once adorned with his beloved medals. He couldn’t stop crying and recalled the different occasions he received them. The more he thought, the more it broke his heart.
Old Jacob spent the night in tears drowned in painful memories, and he didn’t realize when he had slept on the couch. The following day, he woke up to loud music outside his house.
Rubbing his eyes, he opened the window and froze in astonishment. In his yard stood a military band playing tunes Jacob once marched to during service.
“Wha-what is happening?” he cried and walked out as fast as his fragile legs could carry him.
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pixabay
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pixabay
The music pierced the air, and everyone in the neighborhood flocked around Jacob’s house in awe. The old veteran approached the band and was surprised when Billy walked out from behind and hugged him.
“What’s going on, Mr. Simpson?” Jacob cried in astonishment. Billy took Jacob’s most prestigious Medal of Honor and a few other medals from his box and pinned them to Jacob’s shirt, saluting him with a smile.
“These medals are yours. The Medal of Honor reminded me of my late grandpa,” Billy said, extending the box of honors to Jacob. “They belong to you, and you should never give them away again.”
As it turned out, Billy’s late grandpa was also a veteran. When he learned of Jacob’s story and examined all his medals, he was moved and decided not to snatch the man’s only treasured memories of his military service.

“You and my grandpa are no different,” Billy said. “I live in the street nearby with my family, and I’d be happy to help you.”
Billy’s words touched old Jacob. Ultimately, he spent his old age peacefully with his newfound friend, who helped him in every way possible.
The old war veteran’s sacrifices reaped a sweet fruit in the end when he found a family to take care of him. Eventually, Billy offered Jacob to move in with him, which the older man happily agreed to. Billy also took Sophia under his wing and ensured she was cared for well, to keep Jacob’s promise to his late friend!
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels
For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels
What can we learn from this story?
When you do good to others, it comes back to you in surprising ways. Jacob had been walking the extra mile for several years to ensure his late friend’s wife was cared for. He sent her money or groceries every month even when he barely had enough for himself. His selfless deed fetched him a reward in the end when he found Billy, a kind-hearted man who took him under his wing after learning his story.
You will be recognized for your good deeds. Throughout his life, Jacob had nobody to take care of him. He always prioritized his service and sacrificed a lot for his country. And when he sold his esteemed military honors to feed someone, he was recognized for his compassion.
An old veteran never let circumstances stop him from completing his mission for over 20 years. He often loaded his truck with food every night and set out to accomplish it daily. Click here to find out who he was feeding.
This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.