POINT PLEASANT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A veteran from Monmouth County, New Jersey got an unexpected post-Fourth of July show of gratitude while out with his family. He says the moment took his breath away.

Michael Malone wears his Navy Vietnam veteran hat with pride. “I’m a very, very proud veteran,” Malone told CBS2’s Meg Baker on Wednesday.

He was out to eat Tuesday evening at the Shrimp Box and Outdoor Patio Bar in Point Pleasant when he was told his bill had been taken care of. “The waitress came over with a napkin and it had writing on it and she said a man and a wife at the bar had seen me, and saw that I was a veteran, Vietnam veteran,” Malone said.

The Malones were sitting at one table and the couple was behind them. Edward Kendall was working the bar. “They had kind of asked us without making a big deal of it if they could pick up the check of a veteran,” Kendall said.

“How did that make you feel?” Baker asked Malone.

“It made me feel very, very good because we did not get that a lot back in the 1960s, ’70s,” Malone said.

Malone’s son, also named Michael, is a patrolman in Wall Township, and was with his father at the restaurant. “It was very moving, and it’s very comforting to know that there are a lot of folks out there that recognize the service and sacrifice of our veterans,” he said.

Malone, 73, was a navy Seabee. “Seabees, our motto is, ‘We build, we fight, we are a fighting force, and a constriction force,'” he said.

Kendall added that the gesture made an impact on the restaurant staff. “A nice reminder of what the Fourth of July is really all about and the sacrifices so many people have made to make America that it is today,” Kendall said.

“When you see a veteran out there, thank them for their services, especially if you see a Vietnam veteran. Most importantly, say ‘Welcome home,'” Malone’s son added.

The Malones met the anonymous couple moments later, thanking them for their patriotism.

WCBS-TV’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.