To look at Dr. Rebecca Landis Hayes, you may not be able to see her eight years of diligent service in the U.S. Navy. After serving from 2000 to 2008, she is now a family physician.
As a 42-year-old female, “veteran” isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind at first glance.
However, that’s exactly what she is.
So when she came across this note after parking in a “veteran’s only” spot at the Coddle Creek Harris Teeter in Concord, North Carolina, she was less than thrilled:
In response to the misguided remark, Hayes decided to post a picture of the note accompanied by these corrective words on Facebook:
“To the person who left this note on my windshield today at the Coddle Creek Harris Teeter in Concord, NC:
I know I parked in one of the Veteran Parking spaces today, it was hot. I had been in and out of my car several times already this afternoon, and I was only going to be a minute. Besides, the parking lot was full, so I just did it. It was the first time, and I won’t do it again. I’m sorry…
I’m sorry that you can’t see my eight years of service in the United Sates Navy. I’m sorry that your narrow misogynistic world view can’t conceive of the fact that there are female Veterans. I’m sorry that I have to explain myself to people like you. Mostly, I’m sorry that we didn’t get a chance to have this conversation face to face, and that you didn’t have the integrity and intestinal fortitude to identify yourself, qualities the military emphasizes.
Which leads to one question, I served, did you?”
While these types of “windshield notes” accusing people of abusing parking privileges are not uncommon, nor are the public Facebook responses—what happened next adds quite the twist to this story.
The person who wrote that note saw Hayes’ viral post and responded by mailing her this anonymous letter:
The accuser sincerely apologized for his/her actions and concluded in saying, “I appreciate your service to this country and I highly respect military men and women. It was an error in judgment, and again, I’m sorry for that. Thank you for all that you’ve done. God Bless.”
Hayes again posted this note to Facebook along with a caption that read, “I wanted to let everyone know I received a much appreciated, sincere apology.”
Hayes also isn’t bothered by the fact that the person did not identify himself/herself.
“Whether it’s Mike Smith or Mary Smith it won’t make a difference,” Hayes told TODAY. “An anonymous apology is just as good to me.”
“It’s always nice when someone owns up to their mistakes,” she added.
We all make mistakes, but it takes true bravery and integrity to own up to them. I love seeing this story come full circle in a way that shows honor and respect for all involved!