Grass is greener at one Milwaukee coffeehouse, thanks to grateful veteran

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The lawn was looking good outside, but nobody knew who was responsible for keeping it cut. When folks finally figured it out, they felt compelled to share this story.

At The National, a popular coffeehouse on Milwaukee's south side, the customers keep coming in and the cleanup is constant. But being so busy inside means outside, the lawn sometimes lacks a little love -- when owner Nell Benton can't make time to mow.

"I don't hate it. But you know, it's a chore," said Benton.

It's a chore which Benton admits she's been neglecting for a few weeks. But frankly, nobody has noticed.

"The lawn's been mowed, and everything's been great. And I couldn't figure out how this was happening because normally I take care of it," said Benton. "So I asked my staff and I asked my partner, who lives upstairs as well, and nobody had a clue as to what was going on."

On Wednesday, September 17th, Benton discovered it was not the cold weather but a warm spirit which has been leading the lawn care effort.

"He said, 'How do you, how do you like the lawn?' or something to that effect. And it just kind of clicked, " said Benton. "And I said, 'I don't know who's been doing it.' And he said, 'I have.'"

This mystery man is a U.S. veteran named Barry Green. In 2013, he bought a ticket to a Veterans for Peace event Benton helped organize. But he did not end up attending. So Benton gave Green a cafe gift card worth the value of the ticket. In return, he's been making trips to take care of the grass at her business.

"He lives in Germantown," said Benton. "He brought in his lawnmower -- from Germantown -- and mowed it."

Benton says the mowing is moving.

"I almost burst into tears. I just thought it was one of the kindest things I've ever heard," said Benton.