A lawnmower is all the transportation this World War II vet needs

Julia LeDoux
August 26, 2019 - 3:01 pm
Mr. C on lawnmower

Photo courtesy of Flowers Cafe


When you hear a lawnmower outside the doors of Flowers Café in New Ellenton, South Carolina, it can only mean one thing.

James Cunningham has arrived.

As long as it’s not raining, the 94-year old World War II veteran, known affectionately as Mr. C, rides his lawnmower to the café for lunch every day because he “loves the people” there.

Mr. C table
Photo courtesy of Flowers Cafe

“He has his own table, he has a picture on the wall and we have Mr. C written on the chair he sits on,” explained café owner Paulette Flowers.

Cunningham was out in the fields working alongside his brother when his mother told them about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“He and his brother went and signed up,” said Flowers. “He wasn’t old enough. He lied about his age by a year to join the Navy.”

Cunningham served aboard the U.S.S. Portland in 1944 and participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which is considered to be the largest naval battle of the war, said Flowers.

“He said that lasted four or five days,” she said. “He was a gunner there.”

Cunningham usually arrives at the café around 12:30 p.m. each day and stays to nearly 4 p.m.

“He has a small chef’s salad,” Flowers said.

Cunningham has been coming to the café for more than six years, she said.

“We love him and he loves us,” Flowers said.

Cunningham gets a lot of attention when he’s at the café. Customers routinely stop by his table to thank him for his service and talk to him.

“He’s kind of a cut-up at times,” she said.

Cunningham has only missed lunch at the café three times over the past six years.

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Reach Julia LeDoux: Julia@connectingvets.com

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