“Jessie, as the new girl around here, you’ll be working table 13,” her co-worker informed her as she prepared for her first day as a waitress in the restaurant.
Approaching table 13, noticed an elderly man slouched in his chair, completely absorbed in the menu.
“He’s just an oldie,” she remarked, puzzled. “What’s the issue with him?”
“Oh, honey. He’s quite demanding. Brace yourself. Nobody here enjoys serving him,” Mark replied.
“I can handle anything,” she responded confidently, her determination unwavering.
Little did she know that disregarding Mark’s words would prove to be a mistake. The guy at table 13, Mr. Nolan, was indeed a challenging customer.
“Who are you?” he gruffly asked as she approached him with a smile.
“I’m Jessie. What can I get for you today?” she replied, maintaining her pleasant demeanor.
“I always order the same thing, and you people ask me every single time.”
I’ll have an iced tea, but make sure it’s not too cold and not too sweet.
Also, bring me two lemon wedges and a straw,” the man grumbled, his annoyance palpable in his voice.
“Perfect. And do you have a lunch preference?” Jessie inquired.
“Not yet. Just go away and bring me my iced tea!” he demanded, his impatience apparent.
Her eyebrows shot up in shock, but she composed herself and walked away to fulfill the man’s request.
However, even though she carefully prepared a relatively simple order, the man seemed determined to find fault.
The tea was either too sweet or too cold, the lemon slices lacked juice, and even the paper straw was deemed inadequate.
“We only have paper drinking straws now,” she calmly explained, trying not to let her frustration show after serving him the fourth glass.
“What a frail, stupid generation. Fine, I’ll have the lasagna,” the man grumbled, tossing the menu at her chest.
She maintained her unwavering smile, refusing to let the man’s behavior ruin her first day.
However, the lasagna she served him had its share of imperfections.
His order took an unusually long time, and she ended up serving six more fams before he finished. At least he left a tip.
“I should have listened,” Jessie confessed to Mark at the end of the day, acknowledging the wisdom in his earlier warning.
“Yeah, we’re sorry. But someone has to take care of him,” Mark chuckled.
Nevertheless, She refused to let a difficult client bring her down. She was working for the sake of her five children.
Her husband was putting in overtime to support them, but it wasn’t enough.
Returning to work was her attempt to provide better for her family.
Fortunately, her mother offered to help take care of her youngest kids while she worked.
Despite her determination, she returned home exhausted each night, barely spending any time with her boys.
As she drifted off to sleep, She made a heartfelt promise to herself that the following day, she would prioritize spending time with her kids.
Regrettably, her plans didn’t unfold as expected. Each day presented new complications and difficulties, primarily due to the presence of the grumpy customer.
Despite the challenges of waitressing, Jessie found solace in the decent tips she received.
For an extended period, she dutifully served the cantankerous Mr. Nolan, earning the admiration of her colleagues for her adeptness in handling him.
Over time, Jessie discovered a unique connection with him, and he even showed a genuine interest in her life.
Although he often displayed childlike behavior, throwing tantrums and complaining, there were fleeting moments when he displayed a surprising pleasantness and inquired about her well-being.
Despite his quirks, he consistently left a 15% tip, a small gesture of kindness.
However, one particular day, instead of finding money on Mr. Nolan’s table, Jessie discovered a key accompanied by a note.
“Dear Jessie, I appreciate your patience and tolerance towards this grumpy old man all this time.
I am now moving to a special hospice and won’t be returning. I’m entrusting you with the key to my house, it’s now yours.
“I’ll give you my lawyer’s card so you can take care of all the legal arrangements.
Goodbye, my dear. P.S. I didn’t complain about the tea being too sweet because it’s my time,” she read aloud, her voice filled with disbelief.
The unexpected revelation left her puzzled. She couldn’t fathom why a complete stranger like herself would be chosen to inherit his house.
Mr. Nolan had a family, after all. Intrigued and determined to find answers, Jessie contacted the lawyer mentioned in the note, hoping to visit Mr. Nolan in the hospice and unravel the mystery.
When she arrived, she was greeted by a frail and thin Mr. Nolan.
His physical decline had not been as apparent in the restaurant.
The grumpy old man reiterated what he had written in the note and confirmed its authenticity.
“But why? What about your children?” Jessie inquired.
“My children despise me. It’s been years since I’ve seen or heard from them.
I’ve been grumpy and unpleasant to everybody in my life for as long as I can remember.
You were the only person who treated me with kindness and a genuine smile.
So please, keep the house for your big fam. It’s spacious and perfect for people like you who have the patience for old things,” he revealed, causing Jessie to burst into tears.
She couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment when she began to appreciate Mr. Nolan’s presence, but the thought of never seeing him again was overwhelming.
Perhaps she couldn’t bear the idea of him passing away alone.
Determined to make a difference, she decided to bring her kids to meet him that weekend.
For the first time in years, she witnessed the old man smile—a sight worth more than a thousand tips.
He passed away a few weeks later, and she inherited his house.
The lawyer informed her that his fam had no interest in his estate, so everything went to her.
Apart from the beautiful house, there wasn’t much else, but it meant a great deal to her large fam.
Her kids were thrilled to have their own rooms, and she and her husband received promotions at work, improving their financial situation.
They had much to be grateful for, so they volunteered at a senior care facility as often as they could in honor of Nolan.
She made it a point to pay attention to elderly individuals who exhibited the worst attitudes.
She empathized with them, understanding that their grumpiness likely stemmed from reasons she could personally relate to.
These individuals served as a reminder of the guy who had profoundly impacted her life.