WAKE FOREST -- The note read "You are a f---- moron! I hope karma visits you often! This is parking for our veterans."
On Saturday night, Rod Boyle, 56, of Durham parked in a spot reserved for veterans at the Harris Teeter at 1432 Brogden Woods Drive, Creedmoor Village, in Wake Forest, something he almost never does.
He was just going into the store to pick up a few things quickly, he said.
He wasn't expecting a note accusing him of misusing the parking spot, since he retired from the Navy after 20 years as a Petty Officer 1st Class.
Boyle said he didn't even notice the note until he was driving away.
"What business is it of someone to make that assumption?" Boyle said Tuesday. "I am a veteran. What made you think I wasn't? You can't tell if someone is a veteran just by what they look like, or the car they drive."
Boyle turned back and brought the note into the store to show management.
"I told them, 'I'm not angry at you or the store, and I know there's nothing you can do,' " Boyle said. "But I wanted them to know."
When he first saw the note, Boyle said he was angry. But after a while, he decided he couldn't be.
"I defended our country for a very specific reason," he said. "For citizens of the United States to have the right to say that kind of stuff.
"I feel tremendous honor for how the USA allowed me to proudly serve our country. My service was not only to defend, but also for the rights of Americans. One of those rights is freedom of speech, such as for a person to make an assumption, write a note and touch a car."
But no matter how bad the note might seem, Boyle said it's a good thing.
"I am happy to get the story out there so I can educate the ignorant," he said.
Harris Teeter also released a statement: "It is extremely unfortunate anyone would receive a note like this, and we are certainly disappointed it happened while this veteran was shopping in our store."
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett ___
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