BEDFORD, Va. – A group of Bedford firefighters cut their dinner short Thursday night to respond to an emergency. When they returned to pay the check, they discovered a stranger had already paid for them.
“It was very, very kind. We really appreciate it," said Bedford Assistant Fire Chief Nicholas Rice. "It’s not something we expect. We do this because we truly love to do it.”
The volunteer firefighters had just ordered dinner at Olde Liberty Station, a restaurant blocks away from the fire station, when they received a call for a possible chimney fire. While they were gone, an anonymous person picked up the firefighters’ tab and left them a thank you note.
“It makes us feel very, very good that the community supports what we do," Rice said.
Olde Liberty Station owner Harry Leist says firefighters regularly come to his restaurant. Leist said he remade the firefighters’ meals while they responded to the call.
“They were gone for at least 40 minutes and the food had deteriorated to the point where I wouldn’t want to serve it to anybody," Leist said. "We waited to hear from them, and we prepared the food.”
The dinner proved to be important for the firefighters, as it prefaced an unusually busy night for the department.
“Thursday alone, we responded to two chimney fires, which get a structure fire response, and a full-on structure fire down in Stewartsville,” Rice said.
Rice still does not know who paid for their meals but said their generosity left a lasting impression.
“It’s not something that we expect or need or anything like that, but we truly are humbled and thankful,” Rice said.