Soldier On His Way Home Gets A Phone Call That Makes His Stomach Drop

One of the toughest parts about serving in the Armed Forces is the time away from home. Every soldier signs up knowing full well they have a duty to serve, and until that contract is over, they’re required to heed the call of whatever branch they’re in. It’s a difficult, but necessary, part of the job.

Brooks Lindsey was a soldier in the National Guard, and when duty called, he left his pregnant wife Haley alone in Mississippi while he served. After receiving a phone call one afternoon about their child’s birth, however, he knew he’d never make it home in time for the birth — unless he got a boost from a miracle.

Brooks Lindsey didn’t get much of a chance to meet women given of the nature of his job. But during a leave when he met a girl named Haley who also lived in his hometown of Brandon, Mississippi, the two instantly became smitten with each other.

He was a soldier in the 114th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Battalion of the Mississippi National Guard. He was on base much of the year, and when he did leave, he spent most of his time with family. Until he met Haley.

It wasn’t long before Brooks popped the question and was met with a resounding “Yes!” from his now-fiance. In November of 2017, friends and family gathered to watch the two exchange vows and pledge their love to each other.

Soon, the ultimate familial decision occurred: The couple was going to have a baby and become a true family unit. It wasn’t long ago Brooks doubted he’d ever find true love, and now he was on his way to fatherhood.

The couple was lucky to have super supportive parents on both sides who swore they’d do everything they could to help once the baby arrived. For the first time in his life, the tough soldier showed a soft side.

As happy as the couple was during the course of the pregnancy, they both knew Brooks could get called back to duty at any moment. Unfortunately, not long before Haley was due, Brooks received word it was time for him to leave.

Brooks had to return to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. If Haley went into labor, the plan was to call the Red Cross, who would then contact Brooks and get him home in time. Well, the day came quicker than they both thought.

Brooks was in a panic when he got the call. Everything was okay, but he wanted to be with his wife badly; he knew she was nervous. So, off to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport he went.

Brooks got to the airport and started running towards Terminal B where his plane was waiting. He was weaving in and out of people, and his nerves were full-blast. When he checked the board for the flight info, however, his heart dropped.

Every plane taking off from the airport was delayed at least two hours. This couldn’t be happening to him. There was no way he could miss the birth of his first child. He wandered off to a wall and collapsed on the floor, distraught.

He was in a daydream-like state. It felt like the world was against him. His wife was all alone in a hospital bed going through labor pains, and he was nowhere to be found. Just then, his phone rang.

The ring snapped him out of his daze, and he stared down at an incoming cal from his mom. She was attempting to Facetime him. This was weird. Why was mom Facetiming him? He picked up the call and immediately gasped.

There, on the small screen in the palm of his hand, was Haley, and she wasn’t alone. In her arms was the child she just gave birth to, a beautiful baby girl! Brooks sat and cried tears of joy in the airport!

It wasn’t easy for Teresa to convince the doctors to allow the call to happen, but under the circumstances, they let the camera in the room. As soon as Brooks heard the announcement to board his flight, he prepared himself to meet his new daughter.

When Brooks finally arrived at the hospital where Haley was caring for their newborn, he sprinted down the hall and came to a screeching stop in front of the room. There were both his angels, looking beautifully at peace.

The proud father scooped up his newborn, who they named Millie Fritz Anne, into his arms, closed his eyes, and held her gently for five whole minutes in silence. Haley knew this was the happiest moment of his life

Millie Fritz Anne was everything the couple hoped for. She was adorable and wore a huge smile on her face. She was part Brooks, part Haley, and all perfect. The family was now complete in the best way possible.

According to Haley, the fact the plane was delayed was actually a blessing in disguise. “Honestly it was a blessing that he was delayed because he would’ve been in the air, and he wouldn’t have known anything at all.” 

The Lindsey family is happy and healthy, and funny enough, a person at the airport snapped a photo of Brooks while he took the incredible phone call, and it went viral on social media.

A sneaky cellphone photo changed the life of Army Lt. Col. Robert Risdon, too. He was heading home from work when he realized he was hungry. It was late — around 9:30 pm — so he pulled into the nearest fast food restaurant. The decision would impact more than his stomach.

He walked in and was greeted by the late-dinner rush. Thanks to the pouring rain, everyone in the restaurant looked wet, cold, and all-around miserable. Because of this, when two soaking wet figures walked in, they weren’t welcomed by smiles. 

Robert watched the duo go from table to table, mumbling something to each annoyed customer, all of whom quickly brushed them away. The closer they got to Robert’s table, the more curious he became.

See, it soon became clear that the mysterious strangers were really just young boys. Robert watched as the taller of the two boys shoved his hands into his pockets. It was dinner time, but it was obvious that they weren’t there to eat.

Robert thought about the other customers. He had no clue what the boys had asked them, but by their annoyed expressions, it must not have been a pleasant interaction. Even the cashier looked nervous. Still, as they got closer, he only felt one thing.

Empathy. “I can’t even count the number of times I was cold, wet, and hungry in the Army,” he said. Having been stationed in Saudi Arabia, he was no stranger to hunger or extreme cold, and it was clear that these boys had felt their share of both.

These boys weren’t even in a foreign country — they were right there in rural Alabama, clearly in need of some help. It wasn’t until they got to Robert’s table that he finally found out what they were asking everyone about.

“Do you want to buy some candy?” They asked him. For a moment, Robert was stunned. Of all the questions they could have asked, this was the least expected. He could tell by their slumped stances that they were exhausted…

Because of this, he dreaded giving them his answer. “I don’t have any cash,” he said honestly. He watched the boys nod and start to walk away…until he asked them a question that stopped them right in their tracks.

“Can you boys finish off 10 tacos?” he asked. They both nodded, and Robert brought the boys up to the counter to buy them whatever they wanted. When he started talking to them, he learned how they ended up soaking wet and selling candy.

It turned out that the boys had been trying to raise funds for their local church by walking and selling all the candy they could door to door. When he asked if they had eaten, the older boy simply shook his head.

Robert was touched by their intentions and admired them for working so hard. These were kids who were determined to help others, even if it meant skipping meals and getting wet in the rain. As a soldier, Robert had been in similar situations himself.

Unknown to Robert, another customer in the restaurant caught on to what was happening. Jason Gibson knew he was witnessing a rare good deed at work, so he quickly grabbed his phone and started to record the interaction. 

The younger boy tried to salute Robert with one hand while clutching his taco in the other. The older boy just kept saying thank you, all while Gibson filmed. Little did the trio know, Gibson had plans for the video.

It wasn’t long after Gibson posted the video that it went viral. Thousands of people were inspired by Robert’s actions, and by the happy grins on each of the boy’s faces. Clearly, though, not everyone had the impulse Robert had to help the boys.

According to Robert, his own reason for helping goes back to how he was raised. “Throughout my childhood I was around people who taught me there’s more to life than taking care of yourself,” Robert said. As a father, he’s raising his kids with the same mentality.

Being kind and helpful is second nature to Robert, so all the praise he’s received about the viral video feels strange, to say the least. “I’m kinda embarrassed and humbled by the praise,” he said. He believes that such an act should be second nature to everyone…

“It seemed like a very small gesture I could do for two kids that were trying to make some money in the rain on a school night,” he said. Before leaving, he gave the boys advice that they will probably never forget.

“When you’re older and you’re in a position to help someone out — don’t pass it up,” he told them. Although Robert was the one helping out this time around, the boys touched Robert’s heart in a way he didn’t expect.

“They inspire me as much as I may have made them feel good by just filling their bellies a little bit,” Robert said. If you’re wondering how to inspire a soldier like Robert, it may be as simple as showing others respect and gratitude.

Robert and the two boys are living reminders to pay kindness forward. “I am a believer that we live in the best country in the world with the best people and that acts of kindness happen every day,” Robert said.

Robert saw many of his fellow soldiers being kind to total strangers over the years. But he was particularly blown away when he heard of the kindness and love surrounding Army medic Luis Ocampo.

Luis lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his girlfriend Kailey Finch and their son Lucian. Her served in the North Carolina National Guard, and in September 2018, duty called him into action.

Kailey Finch / Facebook

Hurricane Florence, a Category 1 storm, smacked the coast with heavy winds and torrential rain, flooding cities and destroying homes. The Guard deployed Luis to the riverfront city of New Bern, which the storm hit particularly hard.

Anella Jane / MNN

While Luis and his local soldiers navigated the storm’s aftermath, helping anyone who needed water, food, or what have you, 20-year-old Kailey and Lucian headed for a place they would feel safer without Luis around.

The National Guard

Specifically, she took her soon to Luis’s parents’ house so she wouldn’t be alone for days. She left the family dog at home, where she checked in on him periodically. For a few days, the family lived like this — away from home and apart.

Kailey Finch / Facebook

On September 21, Luis returned home from his brief stint in New Bern. After helping people piece their lives back together, he expected at least a few hours for himself. But once at home, he did not receive a hero’s welcome.

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

With Kailey still at his parents’ house, Luis arrived at home only to be greeted by a curious sight: the dog — who’d been home all by himself — was running around in the front yard.

Flickr

Even more curious was that the back door had been left wide open. Either the dog taught himself a new trick and opened the door himself, or someone who should not have opened that back door. Gulp.

Most telling of all, however, was that the window in his son’s bedroom was propped open: someone busted the lock with a nearby shovel and crawled into the home! They weren’t still inside, were they?

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

Luis entered his house through the wide-open back door and looked around. There was, thankfully, no one still inside the home. But that was just about the only positive the soldier could take away from what he saw.

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

The intruder flung clothes everywhere. They stole a laptop Luis kept all of his school work on; they stole a video game system, a firearm, and even swiped food from the refrigerator! And they didn’t stop there.

Kailey Finch / Facebook

The thieves took a box of coins Luis’s grandmother collected from around the world — something immensely sentimental to the 24-year-old. After surveying the damage, all he could do was stick his face in his hands.

Kailey Finch / Facebook

This was how Kailey found her soldier when she returned home. Wanting to do something to help, she turned to Facebook and wrote a status that she didn’t know would eventually change their lives.

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

“This soldier, my soldier,” Kailey wrote, “lost everything of importance…We are trying to get the word out and see if anyone has any information about who may have taken it. Please share and see what we can find out!”

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

A friend of Kailey’s, Mary Elise Capron, saw the post and felt an overwhelming sense of grief for the couple she loved dearly. She’d worked closely with Luis over the years and knew him as “an amazing soldier and person.”

Mary Elise Capron / Facebook

Mary wanted to help, so she set up a GoFundMe. “I am honored to know [Luis],” she wrote, “and cannot believe something so terrible could happen to someone so dedicated to the service, his family, and school.”

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

Mary set a fundraising goal of $5,000. That, she figured, would be plenty to replace the laptop and firearm, and to repair the broken bedroom window. Eventually, donations flooded in…and they wouldn’t stop!

In 11 days, the GoFundMe raised thousands for the couple, who eventually asked Mary to shut down the fundraiser! They were making too much money, they argued, and didn’t “want to abuse people’s generosity.”

But the public actually asked Mary to re-open the fundraiser after she shut it down at the couple’s behest: they wanted to help out this woebegone soldier! This made Luis uncomfortable, so he and Mary worked out another plan.

Mary Elise Capron; Kailey Finch

Delighted with the public’s enthusiasm to help a soldier in need, Luis, Kailey, and Mary redirected new donations to Soldiers and Airmen Assistance Fund, which helps local Guardsmen facing hardships.

North Carolina National Guard / Flickr

The couple even gave some of the donation money — which totaled nearly $15,000! — to a soldier who’d been living in a hotel after a Hurricane Florence brought a tree down on his home. Luis and Kailey turned a disaster into a positive moment.

“A big part of wanting to give the donations comes from seeing how generous people have been,” Luis said. “And I wanted to pay that back to someone else who needed help.”

Kailey Finch / Facebook

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