When the men had entered the restaurant and noticed the older gentleman with his Vietnam hat on they approached him one by one to look him in the eye, shake his hand, and thank him for his service before returning to their table. When the old Marine had finished his meal he grabbed the wrist of the waitress walking by and kindly asked for the check with a big smile while patting her upper arm twice. She smiled back and let him know it had been covered and to have a nice day. Knowing it was the Marines he went to their table, and instead of thanking them for the kind gesture and for serving the country, as he had, and maybe having a brief conversation on what jobs they did and where they'd been before saying goodbye if they were lucky and it wasn't one of those old timers that if you made just a little too much small talk they had a chair pulled up with an uncanny knack to avoid any way to politely end the conversation until quite a while later a handful or two of anecdotes and war stories ranging from slightly embellished comedic outcome of a normally routine process to a brilliantly told lie that the Marines enjoyed regardless and everything inbetween they were finally able to get away after another round of handshakes.
Instead of that, which is what I've experienced many times, this encounter ended in tears after he told them that there's no need to cover it for him, he knows they must not make much money considering their jobs, but the Marines insisted and each gave him a farewell handshake and sharp salute as he exited the Cracker Barrel. They then apparently took a lot of different pictures and stuff as well in the parking lot and a crappy "news" website probably saw a Facebook page that had shared the Facebook post one of the Marines wife's had made and turned it into that days x% of ad revenue from clicks.