WiaAs the government shutdown moves toward its third week, many furloughed workers are in dire financial straits. Fortunately, simple acts of generosity can make a profound difference. A waitress in Concord, N.H. demonstrated the power of kindness when she bought lunch for two furloughed soldiers.

Sarah Hoidahl is a waitress at Ruby Tuesday. As the pair was looking through the menu, they offhandedly mentioned being furloughed during the shutdown. Hoidahl, a single mother to a 15-month-old baby, empathized with their situation and treated them to lunch. After picking up the tab, Hoidahl wrote a quick note on the receipt thanking the soldiers for their service.

After gratefully hugging her, the soldiers posted Hoidahl's picture and a copy of her note to Facebook where the story quickly spread. What she saw as a simple act of kindness has inspired thousands online. Hoidahl has expressed surprise and excitement over the response from the public. But for her, "Just seeing the reaction on [the soldiers'] faces was totally worth it."