Life As a Waitress
Life as a waitress is never easy. You come across people with different moods and attitudes. But no matter how rude they are, waitresses have to keep that smile on their face to serve them well.
It is one of the service industries where the worker is neither respected for their work nor paid enough. Still, they have to give their best to maintain their livelihood. For most of their life, they wait for a handsome tip, but only a few workers are that lucky.
High expectation of the customer
If you have ever taken the job of a waitress, you will know that there are customers with very high expectations. However, they don't know how to be polite. They blame the server for everything that goes wrong even though it's not their fault.
This story is going to be about a stubborn customer's interaction with a kind waitress who always had that smile on her face. Let's see whether her kindness will be paid off or not?
Melina Salazar is a waitress in Luby's Restaurant and was very proud of her job. For most of her life, she had worked at Luby's restaurant. Her working job was to take orders from the customer and manage the busy table.
Melina is from Brownsville, Texas, and lives a simple lifestyle. Being an honest person, she was always regular at her work and took it very seriously. Everyone there liked her, and the people there became a family to her.
If you have ever been to Texas, you will know that Luby's is a popular place to dine in. With many branches all over the country, this restaurant serves some delicious, authentic food.
As this is a chain restaurant, the price there is not too high. And that is why the restaurant is always busy with customers. For Melina, working here had always been fun. It is like a second home to her, and she never noticed how days passed and changed into years.
Melina is very kind and friendly by nature. She always welcomed her visitors politely and tried every possible way to keep them happy. She always knew that handling tough customers was a part of her job, so instead of complaining, she looked for ways to handle the situation.
Melina interacted with many customers every day, and the experience was not the same every time. She knew people from the surrounding area and had to deal with a variety of characters daily. While some were friendly, others were a struggle to handle.
One particular customer
Just like any other job, she had good and bad days. She used to encounter some very kind customers. But, others were thankless customers who did everything possible to ruin her day.
However, one-day, things changed forever. It was the day she met a former World War Veteran, Walter Buck Swords. In the upcoming months, it was going to be tough for Melina as well as her fellow servers.
A negative impression
Walter was 89 years old and was not the kind of person a waitress would enjoy serving. The first time Melina started serving him, she knew that he was special. There was something odd about him.
Walter became a regular at Luby's, and he always ordered a hearty meal. Unfortunately, he was not the kindest person and would throw a lot of tantrums.
Cannot serve him
Walter was one of the stricter customers to serve. When at the restaurant, he would make consistent demands, which were sometimes impossible to follow.
He was so rude to the servers that most of the waiters and waitresses refused to attend to him. They used to leave him alone while he was eating, and he would finish his meal in silence.
An unspoken agreement
Even though the staff was not ready to serve Walter, he came there every day. Melina used to witness this scenario and never felt good about it. She could never understand why he came there when he didn't like the service.
Soon it was clear that there was an unspoken agreement between the staff and Walter. He would order his food and eat there. While he is there, no one would come near to his table.
Only a waitress
Even though he was such a tough man, there was one person who was always ready to help him. It was Melina. Melina knew that she could not leave him alone. There was something that kept them connected.
She was the only waitress who would take his order and serve the food. Whenever he came, Melina would ensure that she did everything to make him happy. His demands were specific as he wanted the food to be cooked in a certain way.
A dedicated worker
Melina loved her work and was ready to take that extra step to make the customer comfortable. It is uncommon to meet a server like her, and perhaps Walter got lucky.
Even though Walter was very rude to her, she always maintained her patience. Soon she knew how Walter wanted his food. Whenever he came around, Melina would place the order. She served him piping hot food every time he came in. Still, there was no change in Walter's behavior.
How did she do so?
Not only did she work very hard to get the orders perfect, but Melina was also friendly to Walter and all the other customers.
She would always start by saying, "How are you doing today?" None of her fellow waiters and waitresses could ever understand how she pulled off that happy face. Even for Walter, she had the happiest expressions ever.
Seven years passed
Walter always wanted his food very hot. He did not care whether he will burn himself while eating, but the food had to be sizzling. The man was adamant about his wishes, and Melina knew how to achieve them. Good for him that Melina was always there.
Salazar admits that Walter even pressed her trigger button sometimes, but she would never let it show on her face. He would start cursing the server whenever something wrong happened. As all the other servers stayed away from him, it was on Melina to help him.
Walter did not show up.
Being in the service industry, she had years of experience in handling this type of customer. Even though Walter was always mean to her, she single-handedly served him for years. Seven years passed, and Melina attended Walter every time with equal patience and kindness.
However, one day Walter did not show up at the restaurant. Melina waited for him day after day, but he did not come. A customer who was so regular in the restaurant suddenly stopped coming. It was a worrying thought.
Melina missed him
For Melina, it was a routine to serve Walter. She had been doing this for seven years, and every time he stopped by the restaurant, she would interact with him patiently. Melina knew all his moods and demands by now.
However, when he stopped coming, Melina noticed that the restaurant looked empty without him. Weeks passed, and Walter did not show up. Melina started worrying about him. Where could he have gone? Why did he not show up? Her curiosity bothered her.
Weeks passed, and Walter did not show up at Luby's restaurant. During her serving days, Melina had discovered a few things about Walter. And she was sure that he was not someone to wander off, nor did he had any family in the area.
So what was it after all? Where did he go? Did something happen? Was he hurt? Melina did not know what had happened and was waiting for some information about Walter.
The newspaper came in.
One day she was reading a local newspaper, where she found an obituary that confirmed Walter's death. Walter had died, and that's why he was no longer visiting the restaurant.
The news stated that Walter had passed away on the afternoon of July 15, 2007. Walter had been a regular customer of Melina for seven years, and this news was very saddening for her. He was never again going to visit the restaurant.
Life goes on
Melina was genuinely affected by the death of Walter. The restaurant looked empty without him on the table. However, life had to go on, and she could not do anything now. Besides, Melina had to earn herself a living.
So she decided to continue her job and kept serving her customers in the restaurant. Even though she was hurt, she always maintained that smile of hers. After all, she had to pay her bills. However, she did not know what was in store for her ahead.
An unexpected visit
Many months passed by, and Melina kept serving at the restaurant. Walter's death did affect her a lot. Every time she looked at his table, she thought he would come back. But he never did. Even though going back to work at the restaurant was difficult, she was still true to her job.
Time passed, and after a few months, an unexpected visitor came to visit her. She was in the middle of her shift when someone told her she had a visitor. Melina had no idea who he was and how her life was going to change after this visit.
It was none other than Walters's lawyer who came to visit Melina. At first, Melina was afraid of what she had to do with Walters's lawyer. She started asking all sorts of questions.
She barely knew what Walter was like. All she ever did was serve him food and treated him nicely. Walter did not talk much, so there was nothing she could know about him. Why was this person looking for her?
The final truth
The lawyer revealed that Walter had mentioned Melina in his will. He had written that she was one of the few persons who had ever been good to him.
Walter visited the restaurant every day to see her happy face. It was the way she treated him that kept him coming to the restaurant. Being pleased with her services, he decided to gift her something.
The customer is always right.
Melina knew that serving customers' prickly needs was a part of her job. After all, they say the customer is always right.
Being a veteran, Walter had been through a lot, and somehow Melina knew this. According to her, all she could do was be nice to him. Little did she know that Walter took notice of her kindness.
A life-changing surprise
Melina could not understand what was going on. Why was she in the will? If she meant so much to Walter, why did he never say it? A lot of questions started bothering her.
As it turns out, the old gentleman took notice of her generous behavior and thought of rewarding her. His lawyer told her that Walter wanted to leave a little of his inheritance to her. He wanted to appreciate Melina for her kindness throughout these years, so he thought of gifting her something that would change her life for good.
A huge tip
Melina was listening to it all, very silently, as she had no words to express her feeling. Even though Walter passed away, he had left her something that she could connect with all her life.
Walter was a mysterious one. He had it planned all through these years and never said a word about it. Walter had left her a tip of $50,000 and a precious car. He wanted to consider it as a tip for a lifetime of kind service. Melina did not know whether to cry or laugh after this news.
Beyond her belief.
She could not believe how a man who was so rude to her could appreciate her company this much. It was all very confusing for her, and all she could think of was ‐ Why did he never say it?
Walters's lawyer had visited Melina a few weeks before Christmas. For her, this was nothing less than a Christmas miracle. The moment was very overwhelming for her. She was reminded of Walter again, and there was a huge fortune at her disposal.
The tip was more than anything she had ever expected. And not just it, it came along with the previous car, a beautiful 2000 Buick. The tables had turned for Melina, and now she could have everything that she ever wished for.
Even though she was overwhelmed with emotions, she was happy that Walter had enjoyed her company all these years. If there was anything that was most important for her, it was her duty towards the customer. And this big tip proved that she had made the old man happy.
Kindness pays off
The whole experience taught Melina how kindness always pays off in the end. While all the staff ignored Walter because he was rude, it was Melina who came forward in support of him.
As the years passed, Melina had already realized that he was not grumpy by nature. He was someone who needed love and attention. Older days are lonely, and you need someone who listens to you. Walter was just the same.
A lonely man
Swords was a lonely man in his final days as he had no family in the city. Melina was the only one he could talk to or expect something from. No matter what, he gave her a hard time, but within, he loved her too.
Her kindness was extended beyond the service. She would listen to him, bring him food, and would wait until he finishes. All of these gestures of kindness could not have been gone unnoticed.
Patience is a virtue.
There are tons of customers who always treat their servers disrespectfully. They should understand that it's their job to attend a table and most of them try to do their best. However, they are humans, and mistakes do happen.
This story is one of those where working as a waitress calls for stressful times. However, she never lost her patience, and in the act of kindness, she is rewarded well.
Kindness is a two-way road.
Melina's story tells us that even the grumpiest of the customer is a human being, and maybe he is doing all this to seek some love. For Melina, this old grumpy customer was just another person. Instead of noticing his behavior, she continued doing her job.
So the next time a customer gets grumpy towards you, smile and be nice. Who knows, maybe karma will send you a lucky surprise!