A surprise visit by singer Michael W. Smith brightened the day of Staff Sergeant Rafael Panduro Wednesday at the Cracker Barrel in Clarksville.
“He’s in there with his wife and two daughters. They don’t know that I’m coming,” said Smith just before walking into the restaurant.
“We’re going to have a meal together and I’m going to give them some cash,” Smith told News 2.The Christian singer gifted the family with $500 and backstage passes to his Nashville show.
Staff Sgt. Panduro enlisted when he was 17 years old and has served for 15 and a half years in medical mission.
He’s currently a platoon leader at Fort Campbell.
Smith sat with the Panduros for lunch, chatting with the family, before presenting a Christmas gift on behalf of the Lebanon based restaurant chain.
“We’ve got a little money, a little Christmas shopping money here at Cracker Barrel,” Smith said with a smile. “Not $20, not $50, but $500.”
Sgt. Panduro and his wife Ursula were taken completely by surprise.
“One of his songs was the first song I ever heard after I became a Christian,” Panduro said, adding, “It’s amazing. I don’t know what to say. I’m just grateful to everybody who made this happen.”
Panduro’s wife Ursula was brought to tears.
“We’re representing Fort Campbell,” she said. “All of the families that are there that do the same thing that we do.”
In addition to the gift card, Smith gave the Panduros backstage passes to his show in Nashville Thursday night.