John Norris gave the two playoff tickets he received to another vet who lost both legs while serving a tour of duty.
A Newport, Ky. man who gave away his playoff tickets to a fellow vet who suffered hardships during a tour in Afghanistan received an anonymous gift that will help ensure he gets to see the Bengals play in person.
What goes around comes around.
That cliché promotion of goodwill toward others came true for a U.S. Navy veteran who saw his good deed transform into two tickets to the Bengals' home playoff game against the Chargers on Sunday.
Active and veteran military personnel lined up at area Kroger stores Saturday morning in an effort to procure tickets purchased by the Cincinnati-based grocer and Procter & Gamble to ensure the game wouldn't be blacked out in the local TV market.
Kroger promised to distribute two tickets to anyone with a military ID while supplies lasted. And they didn’t last long.
Within 30 minutes of the 10 a.m. start time all 200 tickets allotted for distribution at the Newport Kroger Marketplace store had been given away. The tickets also went quickly elsewhere, as hundreds of people across the region flocked to the participating markets hours before the promotion started.
In what was a touching moment between two veterans, John Norris, a Vietnam vet, gave his tickets to Brett Bondurant, a veteran of Afghanistan who lost his legs during an attack two years ago. Bondurant just missed receiving tickets.
Norris felt compelled to give his fellow serviceman the tickets when he saw him walk through the door.
“He walked in on his own. When he walked in I knew I had to give him the tickets. That's why I was standing in line, I had to give him the tickets," the 62-year-old said.
The Newport resident was looking forward to attending his second game of the season but said he was fine with tailgating for Sunday's game because Bondurant deserved the right to go to the game up close.
When news of Norris’ action broke, people flocked to social media with requests to help the man see the opening kickoff to the 1:05 p.m. game from inside Paul Brown Stadium.
One of those people is a bartender at the Blue Wisp restaurant and jazz club in downtown Cincinnati. She said she was so moved by what she saw on TV and read online that she decided to give Norris all three of her tickets to the game.
The woman wished to remain anonymous so her manager at the Blue Wisp presented the tickets to Norris on Saturday night. "Well John, again we heard you very nicely gave tickets to someone else (so) we wanted to present tickets on behalf of blue wisp for being a good citizen. And thank you for your service," Ken Moore told Norris.
The gesture overwhelmed Norris, but he tried to remain strong, calling his teary-eyed reaction and all the attention he had received "embarrassing." But despite his attempt to maintain a stone face, he was quick to show his appreciation to those who gave him the gift.
"This is embarrassing (but) I am excited. Thank you, whoever (you are),” the diehard Bengals fan said, adding that nothing compares to the game day atmosphere at PBS.
“I would still watch the game either way, but there’s nothing like being in the stadium," he said.
Norris said he plans to bring his twin granddaughters to the game. He also plans to start tailgating at 9:30 a.m.