You never know when or where you could meet someone who will change your life.
Retired Air Force Staff Sergeant David Tyler Harmon’s moment came one day while he was at the gym. It was there that he met Dr. David Nguyen. During their workout, the former military man learned the man he had struck up a conversation with was a dentist.
The vet decided he was way past due for teeth cleaning so he made an appointment with Dr. Nguyen. That was the day everything changed.
The experienced dentist took one look at the vet’s teeth and what he observed shocked even him.
“There was infection in his gum tissue, a lot of cracked teeth everywhere, a lot of crowding, a lot of grinding problems,” he said.
“I came in for a cleaning, and he’s like, ‘My goodness!’ And I start telling him all the pain I’m in,” David recalled.
David’s oral and dental problems were exacerbated because of head trauma he received during his multiple tours of active duty.
He was finally in a place where he could get the help he needed, but then came a crushing dose of reality: the cost to fix his teeth was much more than expected – around $15,000.
“I overheard him saying something about sending the paperwork to the VA,” Dr. Nguyen said. “I was like, ‘Wait, if he were to wait for the VA, it would take months.'”
David’s dental issues couldn’t wait that long. He had severe infection which would only worsen if not treated immediately.
“I said, ‘Listen, you need to get this handled right away,'” Dr. Nguyen explained.
It was at that moment that Dr. Nguyen made the veteran an offer that would forever change his life – he would do his dental work completely free of charge.
“When he heard me say that I couldn’t pay the bill, he came in, and he was like, ‘Don’t charge him anything,'” David recalled.
Understandably, the veteran was taken aback by the generous offer. He immediately broke down in tears.
It will take a year to fix all of Harmon’s dental issues, but Dr. Nguyen isn’t concerned. He is happy and proud to help where he can.
“All veterans are heroes,” he said. “They give up so much for this country, and whatever I can do just to help him out a little bit, it’s all worth it to me.”
The pair has bonded over this kind act, each finding a new friend in the process.
“I love this guy,” David said. “I would take a hundred bullets for this guy, for this doctor, in a second.”
The good doctor didn’t ask for anything in return for his work, but he knows how thankful David is. For him, that is enough.
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