Joe Bell positioned himself near a sidewalk, where he clapped for participants as they sped by.
But then something happened that changed the dynamics entirely: one of the runners slowed down, stepped out onto the sidewalk and shook Bell’s hand.
“Thank you for your service,” the runner said before continuing on his way.
Bell responded by telling the man that he was doing a good job in the race. But that wasn’t the end of the “thank yous,” as that simple act of appreciation sparked a chain reaction of additional runners who also shook the veteran’s hand as they passed by.
Watch the inspiring — and spontaneous — moment below:
The “San Jose 408K Race to the Row” is an 8-kilometer race with a course that runs from San Jose to Santana Row.
It benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation, an organization setup to honor Pat Tillman, a former NFL player who died while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. The foundation provides scholarships for veterans and their spouses, as the San Jose Mercury News reported.
(H/T: Yahoo! Sports’ The Post Game)
Featured image via San Jose Mercury News