World War 2 Nurse and Sailor

Remembering World War Two With A Good Turn

One couple got more than they expected from their good deed

Josh Inselberg and his wife were having dinner at Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles one evening about six months ago, when they spotted a sight that delighted them: “There was this couple who were seated to my left, in another booth, and they were dressed up as World War Two reenactors,” Inselberg says. “They were our age, probably in their mid-30s, but she was dressed as a World War Two nurse, and he was dressed up like a solder about to go off to war, in his dress fatigues.”

“Canter’s is a favorite place of ours, and World War Two is a period in American history that we find fascinating. And we love it when people go out of their way to dress up. So my wife and I just got such a kick out of it,” Inselberg told Good Turns recently. “So I said to my wife, I’d like to buy them dinner.”

When Inselberg bought a gift certificate for the couple, the cashier was impressed. “He was just blown away, he thought it was such a nice gesture,” Inselberg said. “I was just doing it because they brought my wife and I joy.”

Inselberg and his wife approached the costumed couple to deliver the gift certificate. “I said, Excuse me, where are you coming from?” recalls Inselberg, a data acquisition engineer at TurnTo Networks, the company behind the Good Turns blog. “The woman told me that they were coming from a reenactment event, and I said, ‘You guys just bring my wife and I such joy that I’d like to buy you dinner, here’s a gift certificate.’ She wasn’t sure what to say. The guy never said a word, he was just speechless.”

“If you give, then you must have something to give, you must have enough”

That might have been the end of the story, but for a random encounter. “Fast forward to April,” Inselberg says. “My wife was putting on a play in the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and we needed a director. So we went to this Fringe Festival mixer, and my wife had met this guy who was very active in the Los Angeles theater community, and she starts chatting with him, and it turns out that he was the cashier at the counter [at Canter’s] who sold us the gift certificates. He remembered us, and he thought it was really nice. So we asked him, Hey, do you know any theater directors? And he said, Well, I’m one, I’ll do it. And so this guy, who was a cashier, who you don’t think is going to cross your life again, became the director of the play.”

Even though Inselberg got an added benefit out of his good turn, that wasn’t why he did it. “I make a habit of setting some money aside in my wallet for random things like this,” he said. “It usually ends up being I saw somebody who looked hungry and I would buy them a meal. This happened to be a pretty rare circumstance. But yeah, I have a habit of doing things like that. I got it from Tony Robbins. He talks about how it makes the world a better place, how it makes you feel rich. If you give, then you must have something to give, you must have enough. You kind of trick yourself into thinking I obviously have enough because I’m giving something away.”

As tricks go, it’s not a bad one. From Good Turns, a salute to that spirit of generosity—and to the men and women of World War Two and those who remember them in uniform even today.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user prayitnophotography)

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