Despite the odds, the insults, and the constant grumpiness, one waitress chose to remain patient through it all - and was rewarded beyond her wildest dreams.
Working in the service industry can be a thankless job. Rude customers will slur at you, send back perfectly good food, and provide you with nothing but small change at the end of a hard workday.
However, now and then, you get a large tip, or a patron compliments your work, leaving you with a smile on your face for a few hours to a day. One Luby's cafeteria employee may just be sporting a permanent grin.
World War II veteran Walter "Buck" Swords [left]; Melina Salazar [right].┃Source: youtube.com/newsreporter findagrave.com
TIME TO SAY GOODBYE
In 2007 Melina Salazar from Brownsville, Texas, wondered where her crabby regular was. One day, she paged through the local newspaper and came across his obituary.
Salazar could have never have imagined what her...patience would bring her in the future.
This World War II veteran, Walter "Buck" Swords, died at 89 years old. Although he wasn't the easiest customer, the waitress had developed a soft spot for the grumpy old man.
A Snapshot of Walter "Buck" Swords obituary.┃Source: youtube.com/newsreporter
AS ZEN AS THEY COME
A difficult man, Salazar, with almost two decades of experience in the industry, was the only one of the servers who knew how to handle the angry elderly man. Recollecting her experience with him over the years, the waitress said:
"He was mean to the girls. He wanted everything his way. He wanted the food very hot — he didn’t care, he burned himself!”
However, she remained courteous and even-tempered no matter what Buck threw her way. Salazar could have never have imagined what the constant smile on her face and her patience would bring her in the future.
Melina Salazar working at Luby's.┃Source:youtube.com/newsreporter
THE POWER OF KINDNESS
Buck's siblings had passed. He had never married and did not have kids, which means that Salazar was likely his primary source of interaction. That didn't mean she wasn't surprised by what he did for her. Salazar exclaimed:
"I couldn’t believe it. I was so nervous, and I’m still like, I still can’t believe it.”
Speaking to other waitresses out there, Salazar encouraged them to practice patience with all their patrons, no matter how rude they were. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but we can carry this attitude out into everyday life.
Many individuals who choose to be unkind are generally lonely and in a lot of pain. Lose your judgment and provide them with what they struggle to give others and themselves.