Melina Salazar, a long-time waitress in Brownsville, Texas, had probably seen it all before. So, when a cranky customer became a regular at Luby’s where she worked, she took it all in stride. Even when the old curmudgeon was being particularly grumpy.
89-year-old Walter Swords, known as “Buck,” had been through World War II and was now alone. Perhaps loneliness had made him especially cranky, but he was known to be so demanding at Luby’s that most of the other wait staff did anything to avoid him. Salazar alone was always happy to take care of him, no matter how foul his mood.
Swords became a regular customer at Luby’s, and Salazar was always the one to serve him, complying with all his demands, even when they were seemingly nonsensical, like wanting his food to be almost uneatable, it was so hot.
One day, Melina realized she hadn’t seen Buck in a while. Perusing the paper, she sadly noticed his obituary. It was approaching the holidays back in 2008. Little did Salazar know that it was about to be her best Christmas ever.
That’s because, unbeknownst to the hard-working and patient waitress, the crusty old war veteran had left her a staggering $50,000, along with a 2000 Buick, in his will.
Of course, Salazar didn’t patiently serve the old and grumpy customer with any expectation at all, since some days, she didn’t even get so much as a “thank you.” But the gracious and generous gift in his will showed Melina that sometimes kindness does pay off, and she now encourages others who work in restaurants to always put their best foot forward.
And that’s a really good tip for all of us.