Texas Waitress Serves Grumpy WWII Veteran For Seven Years – Lawyer Delivers Fifty Thousand Dollar Tip Months After His Death

Sep 07, 2021 by apost team

Anyone who works in food service knows you deal with unhappy customers now and then. Whether someone is having a bad day or that's simply their usual disposition, it's certainly common to come across people who can be cranky.

What's more, sometimes, a grumpy customer can become a repeat customer. In these cases, the person becomes known for their bad mood to the serving staff, and even when serving this same customer year after year, the person remains somewhat aloof and gruff. While it isn't always a nice experience, it comes with the job, and some servers can deal with it better than others.

That was the case for a server named Melina Salazar from Texas. Back in 2007 Salazar dealt with a grumpy regular customer by the name of Walter "Buck" Swords. At 89-years-old, Swords was a World War II veteran who would come in regularly to the Luby's restaurant in Brownsville, Texas where Salazar had worked for 16 years.

Instead of matching his negative disposition, as some servers might do, Salazar greeted Swords with kindness and a smile. In fact, her positive disposition would even rub off on Swords, who would often smile back at Salazar.

But one day Swords didn't come in and after wondering about what had happened to him, Salazar learned from the local newspaper that the elderly vet had passed on. Then a few months later, to her surprise, Salazar found out that Swords had left her an incredibly large tip in his will to show his thanks to her. Let's take a look at this incredible story. 

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-) 

Taking place at a Luby's restaurant in Brownsville, Texas, Salazar had served the rather grumpy Swords for about seven years out of her total 16 years working at the restaurant. According to NBC, the 89-year-old veteran of World War II wasn't always the easiest patron. He complained about the food and service regularly and needless to say, his demeanor wasn't a happy one.

Anyone who has worked in the service industry knows these kinds of customers all too well, but the best you can do is not take it personally and counter their negative disposition with a positive one. If you don't, it can even make things worse, unfortunately.

But Salazar knew this all too well, so whenever she would serve Swords. She never showed any anger or displeasure with him. She consistently served him with a smile. Amazingly, Swords would respond to the smile with a smile of his own. This just goes to show that no matter the mood of a customer, it is possible for them to warm up if you show them some kindness and positivity.

Well, what happened next was not what Salazar expected at all. Without warning one day, Swords stopped coming to the restaurant, leading Salazar to wonder why he no longer took his meals there. Then, upon reading the obituaries in the local newspaper, Salazar learned the answer. Swords, sadly, had passed away. Although he could be difficult, Salazar did enjoy seeing him at the eatery. Knowing he had passed, she felt sad and missed her curmudgeonly customer. 


Then, one week after Swords' passing, Salazar received an incredible surprise. The departed veteran's lawyer appeared at the diner and revealed Swords named Salazar as someone in his will. Swords had appreciated how friendly Salazar was to him, leading him to leave her $50,000 and a car — a 2000 Buick. It seemed that Salazar's smile had made him feel good in his golden years. Salazar pointed out that a smile isn't ignored, and she suggests people follow the simple rule of smiling at others even when they don't smile back.

After the lawyer came in and delivered the $50,000 tip to Salazar in Swords' name, the server couldn't quite believe what had happened. Speaking with Harlingen television station KGBT-TV, the Luby's cafeteria employee said:

"I still can't believe it."

In the interview, she also described Swords as "kind of mean" but added that she "had patience" with him. Swords had passed away in July of 2007 and it was just before Christmas of that year that Salazar had learned of her newfound inheritance from the WWII veteran.

While most servers would probably try and avoid a cantankerous character like Swords, Salazar had the patience to deal with him and she became the only member of staff who would serve him and not only did it bring some happiness to the last years of Swords' life but in the end it proved to be a pleasant surprise for Salazar too. Her advice for other servers out there? Have patience with your customers, just smile and be nice. Even if sometimes they cuss, just be positive to them. 

Have you ever heard of anything similar happening in the service industry? The tale of waitress Melina Salazar and veteran Walter "Buck" Swords could bring a smile to the face of anyone hearing it. Let people know about the value of simply giving a friendly smile to others. 

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