No one liked Walter “Buck” Swords at Luby’s restaurant in Brownsville, TX. The 89-year-old WWII veteran was mean. He was fussy. He made a lot of demands and he even cussed at some of the servers.
There wasn’t anyone who could stand to serve the war hero — anyone but waitress Melina Salazar, that is. She was patient, understanding, and didn’t pay much attention to his mean side.
Instead, she would serve his meals exactly as he preferred, always with a smile, and never huffed or puffed about his requests.
Swords demanded his food be piping hot — so hot he might even burn himself — and still, Salazar always complied. He would eat there on a regular basis and she would always be his server, since all the others refused.
Then Swords stopped coming. Salazar thought it was peculiar, and one day, she opened the paper and discovered his obituary. What Salazar didn’t realize was that she was one of the few people to offer the man kindness in the final days of his life.
She only realized this a few days before that Christmas in 2008. In Swords’ will, he left Salazar a $50,000 fortune and a car. She couldn’t believe it.
Salazar knows that customers can be difficult sometimes, but you never know what they’re going through. She wants other servers to know that service with a smile is always the best route because it could be the only kindness in that person’s life at the time.
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