Anyone who has ever worked in the foodservice industry will tell you that it is anything but easy. The nights are long, the work demands a lot of hours on your feet, and the customers you deal with every day aren’t always the nicest people in the world. A waitress named Melina is a seasoned waitress, and she had one regular customer who was the grouchiest patron that came into the restaurant where she worked. But when he suddenly stopped coming in, she would be dealt a series of surprises that she would not soon forget.
Melina was known as a great waitress to both her coworkers and the many customers she served on a daily basis. She works at the Texas-based restaurant chain Luby’s and prides herself on providing fast and friendly service to the patrons.
As a seasoned waitress, she was used to dealing with all types of customers, including those who were less than friendly. But there was one customer that no other waitress in her restaurant seemed to be able to deal with, so every day he came in, Melina had the task of waiting on him.
One Tough Customer
The customer that tended to draw cold shoulders from everyone but Melina was named Bob. Bob was a regular in the restaurant, coming in nearly every day for lunch. He was an 89-year-old World War II veteran and had a handful of qualities that turned many people off.
Among the rest of the waitstaff at Luby’s, Bob was known for being a bit on the cranky side, He was impatient and would frequently lose his temper with the other staff members. As it turned out, Melina was the only person who seemed to be able to serve him without losing her own temper.
Nearly every day for seven years, Bob would come into Melina’s restaurant. She was always ready to take his order. While his specific selections might have varied a bit, one thing that never varied was the way he wanted his food prepared. Hot and ready to eat.
Melina knew exactly how he liked it so she would go out of her way to make sure that the kitchen staff was preparing it correctly. She always greeted him with a smile and exchanged a cordial greeting. Her coworkers had a hard time understanding how she was able to keep a smile on her face while serving such a grouchy old man.
One day, Melina was surprised to have worked her entire shift without seeing old Bob stop in. She simply shrugged it off, but when he didn’t come in the next day either, she started to get concerned. After the third day without her most regular customer coming in, Melina started to worry that maybe something serious had happened to Bob.
What concerned her more than anything was that she really had no way of determining if he was alright or not. She did not have his contact information and he had never come in with anyone that seemed to be a friend or family member.
A few days after Bob had stopped showing up in the restaurant, she was reading the local paper when she came across something that broke her heart. She was just about to put the paper down and leave for work when she flipped to the obituary page and read that Bob had passed away.
She was very saddened to read the news. While her coworkers couldn’t seem to handle serving the grumpy veteran, Melina enjoyed serving him. She hated the idea that her favorite grouch wouldn’t ever be back in her restaurant again.
Bob was a grouchy old man, but Melina had grown accustomed to serving him and she had no problem admitting that she was going to miss him. She hated reading that he had passed away. Still, she also knew that there was nothing she could possibly do to change the situation.
So, kept on living her own life, working her shifts at the restaurant, and moving on. She assumed that she’d heard the last of Bob. As it turned out, her favorite grouchy customer would have one more surprise in store for her.
Melina had learned long before how to handle Bob’s abrasive personality. She knew that part of being a good waitress was learning how to deal with all sorts of customers, and that included those who weren’t in the greatest of moods when they entered the restaurant.
She knew that Bob was a World War II vet, so she felt like he was owed a certain amount of respect, regardless of what his attitude was. What Melina didn’t realize was that Bob had figured out her personality, too. He had paid close attention to her each day he came in and she waited on him.
After Bob had passed, Melina went about her life, business as usual. She didn’t think that it was very likely she would ever be able to forget about Bob, but she had plenty of other customers to take care of. She figured that the old man would be nothing more than a memory to her.
She had no idea that for all those years, the veteran had grown quite fond of her. In fact, she had made such an impact on his life that when it came time to read his last will and testament, her name was prominently mentioned in the contents.
The World Response
One person commented saying, “My wife and I went to a Red Lobster one day and it was pretty busy… we were seated and the waitress came out with an obvious bad attitude. The waitress asked us what we wanted to drink. We ordered and as she brought things to our table she would drop them on the table and walk away… it went on like this through the whole meal.
As we were getting up to leave I put a $50 tip on the table. While walking to our car this lady runs out of the restaurant crying. She says to us that she didn’t deserve the tip because of the way she treated us. I looked her in her teary eyes and said that I understood how things can get and I hoped she had a good rest of her day.
Other Waitress Experiences
A former waitress wrote, “I was once a waitress in a cafe and there used to come by a man in his mid-60s. He was lonely most of the time. I used to smile at him and to have small talk with him and at the end of his meal he used to tip me very big.”
She further said, “One day, he told that I was the only one who listened and talked to him. I thought he was joking but after watching this I took it seriously. Its good to be nice to people because you don’t what storm is in their life.”
Treat Others Kindly
One guy recalled his job as a busboy and how some customers would make his day by asking how he was. He said, “As a busboy, I experienced one elderly couple that was the nicest. They would listen to how my day was and then without having to ask, I was given a tip.”
He further stated, “I told them that they did not have to do that the kind old man just smiled and put it into my hands and I will never forget that. It’s them that I will never forget.”
Must Have Made An Impact
When the last will and testament of Bob was read, the attorneys came to a portion where Melina’s name was spelled out. Apparently, the waitress had indeed meant something special to the World War II veteran. She had meant so much to him that he’d left some of his belongings to her.
One of the items he wanted to leave her was his car. As nice a gesture as that was, it wasn’t the biggest surprise. In addition to the car, Bob had also left Melina $50,000! That’s a pretty big tip for a waitress.
What Goes Around Comes Around
Melina was shocked that Bob had left her such a kind gift. What meant more to her, though, was that her actions and kindness toward one of her customers had been noticed. She had received perhaps the greatest sign of appreciation that a waitress could ask for.
The other waitresses she worked with didn’t want to have a thing to do with Bob, but Melina had shown him kindness and learned to deal with him. In turn, her acts of kindness had paid off exponentially.
A Common Theme
Melina’s story is pretty extraordinary, but you might be surprised to learn that stuff like this happens fairly regularly. Back in 2015, another story very similar to Melina’s was blowing up social media feeds. The story involved a couple of restaurant employees.
The two had taken care of another “regular” customer for some time. This customer was a wealthy art dealer. When he passed away, he also left the two employees a considerable amount of money in his last will and testament.
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