Working in the restaurant industry can be a tough job.
Not only do you have to contend with unruly customers who can stiff you on a $100 check, but you spend the day on your feet rushing around in conditions that are less than ideal. However, for some, the life of a server is a rewarding profession.
For waitress Melina Salazar, staying positive was one reason customers flocked to her.
No matter what challenges were thrown her way throughout the day, you could always rely on Melina to serve you with a smile. She treated her customers like family, and that kept her regulars coming back.
Melina also had a knack for dealing with tough customers, even those that tended to be quite grumpy.
One of Melina’s regulars was the classic “grumpy old man.” He was picky about his food, always criticized the meals and could make Melina’s life a living hell. However, she always served him every day with a smile and dose of kindness.
However, one day her grumpy regular didn’t show up at his usual time.
Worried about him since he never missed a day at the restaurant, Melina was shocked when she discovered some disturbing news in the paper. You won’t believe this story of one woman’s kindness and an unexpected reward.
Working in Texas at a Mexican restaurant named Luby’s, Melina Salazar was known for her quick service and friendly demeanor.
She loved her job and made the best of it even when things just weren’t going her way.
One of Melina’s regulars was Walter “Buck” Swords, an 89-year-old veteran that was known for his nasty temper and demands for quick service and perfect food.
He had no patience for the slack and held the staff to the highest of standards. Thankfully, Melina was up for the challenge, constantly meeting his demands and ensuring he had a pleasant meal every single day.
Over the course of seven years, Buck would come into Luby’s and sit in Melina’s section.
She knew how he liked his food…” pipin’ hot!” And he liked it quick. As time passed, Melina and Buck had a great system in place and despite his gruff demeanor, she always managed to treat him with kindness.
According to Melina, she lived by the philosophy of treating people the way you wished to be treated. “Buck was rough around the edges, but he was 89 and served in World War II.
I figured he deserved a good meal and a smile. He earned it.”.
Melina was so used to Buck coming in every day, that she was caught off guard when one afternoon he failed to appear. At first, she brushed it off.
Maybe he was sick. However, when he didn’t show up for the next few days, she began to worry. Unfortunately, she had no way to reach out to him or his family to check on his well being.
Unfortunately, Melina would discover a few days later that Buck had passed away.
While browsing the newspaper, she stumbled on his obituary. The grump customer she loved so much for the past seven years, would never yell at her for his hot food again.
As time went on, Melina went back to business as usual, but there was a huge hole in her workday where Buck used to be. She realized that he really meant a lot to her.
Even though he had been a real pain in the butt every single day, she enjoyed having him around. It was comforting to know he’d always be there. Now…there was just a void.
Unknown to Melina, Buck had taken notice of her kindness although he never acknowledged it directly.
In fact, he appreciated the way she handled his complaints and over-the-top requests. Therefore, even in death, he decided to give something back to the waitress he had grown so fond of over seven years. Let’s just say Melina’s life was about to change drastically.
Much to Melina’s surprise, Buck had adored her so much he put her in his final will and testament.
Of course, nothing could have prepared her for what happened next.
Buck’s lawyers reached out to Melina and revealed that he had not only left her his car but $50,000 as well. The waitress was absolutely floored and overcome with emotion.
All she had done was her job to the best of her ability. Why had this man, who she thought hated everyone, left her such a life-changing gift?
Melina felt she was undeserving of such a gracious gesture, but she was thankful her patience and kindness hadn’t gone unnoticed.
Never had she expected to be repaid for simply being nice, but it proved that sometimes a smile can go such a long way (and pay off as well).
While many people might think waitresses being left large sums of money is a rare circumstance, it actually happens more frequently than you think.
And for these hard workers who struggle so hard to make a living for tips, an extra bonus can truly be a blessing.
A similar situation happened on the east coast, at Donohue’s Steakhouse in New York City.
A local art dealer was known to frequent the establishment when he wasn’t traveling around the globe. The staff loved the customer, and he was always known for tipping everyone, including the chefs and the bussers.
For Maureen Donohue, co-owner and waitress at the restaurant, this particular customer was a favorite.
He treated her and the staff very well, especially her niece who worked at the restaurant as well. But who was he?
The art collector and dealer was none other than Robert Ellsworth, also known as the “King of Ming.” Worth over $200 million, he was known for being a kind and gentle man who never thought too highly of himself.
Despite his riches, he lived with an unexpected humbleness.
His unusual nickname derived from the fact that he specialized in art and furniture from the Ming Dynasty in China.
He traveled all over the world to collect unique pieces from that era, his most famous acquisition being the Astor Chinese Garden Court that’s currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
For Ellsworth, Donohue’s Steakhouse was like a second home. He always ordered the same lunch: an open-faced grilled cheese with bacon.
And if he happened to stop by for dinner, he loved the restaurant’s sirloin steak smothered in grilled onions. His dog also loved the food there, and Ellsworth always split his meal with his furry friend.
Ellsworth always went out of his way to make the restaurant staff feel welcome and included.
He would even invite them to join him at his table during slower periods so he could get to know them. Overall, he was a charming man and the workers adored his patronage (talk about a 180 from grumpy Buck in Texas).
Sadly, Ellsworth passed away in 2015, but he left something very special for Maureen and her niece…$50,000 each.
To say they were shocked would be an understatement. The two women couldn’t believe that someone would be so kind and bless them in such a way.
Despite the money, Maureen revealed in an interview she’d give it all back just to have him at his regular table. She hopes he will be remembered for his generosity and kindness, not just his money.
“He was so much more than his status,” Maureen revealed choking back tears. “He was a friend to everyone at Donohue’s.”.
Another blessing bestowed upon a server that made national headlines took place in Greenville, North Carolina at Sup Dogs restaurant.
A place known for its cool vibe and fun waitstaff, you could always count on a good time when dining at this establishment. And there was one waitress who stood out–Alaina Cluster.
Alaina worked at Sup’s in the evening and took classes during the day at East Carolina University as a nursing student.
On one particular afternoon, she arrived for her 4:00 PM shift and was immediately sat a two-top, which she greeted with a friendly smile like she always did. However, this shift would soon prove to be anything but “ordinary.”.
After taking the two men’s drink order, Alaina returned to find them gone. However, they left behind and an incredible tip…$10,000.
At first, Alaina was slightly wary of the gesture, thinking it was a practical joke.“I thought someone was playing a joke on me,” Cluster recalled. “I wasn’t that excited, I just said, ‘What. What is this?’”.
Alaina noticed two men with cameras at another table and approached them, asking if it was some sort of prank. However, they simply told her to subscribe to Mr.
Beast’s YouTube channel and that they were spending the day “blessing servers.” Alaina was moved to tears by the gesture. She never could have expected to be treated with such kindness.
While Alaina could have used the large sum of money for school, she chose to use her blessing to bless others. She split the money with the rest of the staff, giving $200 to all of the other servers working that night and $100 to those that weren’t.
And in the end, she had $800 remaining for herself, which she felt was more than enough. “That could’ve been like anybody on my shift, ya’ know,” she told the local news. “I didn’t do anything to deserve that much money. I wanted to split it up and be fair with everybody.”.
Three different waitresses in three different parts of the country were all blessed financially by their customers.
However, the money isn’t the common thread, it’s their kindness. Despite working in a tough industry, these women all came to work with a smile and made it their mission to spread love. Kindness goes a very long way and you never know when someone unexpected might notice.