Waitress Serves Grumpy Old Man for Years, One Day He Leaves a Surprise for Her at the Table.

“Hey, Jessie. Since you’re the new addition to our team, you’ll be in charge of table 13,” Mark, Jessie’s coworker, informed her as she fastened her apron on for her first day as a waitress at a popular local restaurant, particularly bustling during lunchtime.

As Jessie turned her attention towards table 13 – a number she had committed to memory to make a good impression on her first day – she spotted an elderly man, slouched in his chair, examining the menu.

“Just an elderly gentleman,” Jessie pondered, slightly confused. “What’s so challenging about serving him?”

“Oh, dear. He’s quite a handful. So, brace yourself. No one here enjoys waiting on him,” Mark said, tilting his head with a knowing expression.

“I can handle anything,” Jessie responded confidently.

Little did she know that dismissing Mark’s words so easily would prove to be a mistake. The man at table 13, Mr. Norton, was indeed quite the character.

“Ugh, who are you?” he scoffed when Jessie approached him with a friendly smile.

“I’m Jessie. What would you like to drink today?” she maintained her pleasant demeanor.

“I always order the same thing, and you people ask me that every time. Iced tea. Not too cold, not too sweet. Two lemon wedges and a straw,” the man muttered, his tone tinged with irritation.

“Of course. And have you decided on your lunch choice?”

“Not yet. Just go away and bring me my iced tea!” he demanded.

Jessie’s eyebrows raised in surprise, but she walked away to place the order for the iced tea. Despite its simplicity, the man found fault with it. First, it was too sweet, then it was too cold. The lemon wedges lacked sufficient juice. And the straw, now made of paper, was too flimsy for his liking.

“We only have paper straws now,” Jessie calmly stated, fighting to keep her composure as she prepared the fourth glass for the man.

“Stupid, softy generation. Fine! I’ll have the lasagna,” the man retorted, angrily tossing the menu in her direction, hitting her chest. Jessie maintained her unwavering smile. She refused to let this man ruin her mood on her very first day. However, there were numerous issues with the lasagna he received.

In fact, his table took so long that she ended up serving about six other families before he finally finished his meal. At least he left a tip.

“Yeah, we apologize for that. But someone has to handle him,” Mark chuckled.

Nevertheless, Jessie refused to allow one difficult customer to bring her down. She was doing this job for the sake of her children. With five kids at home and her husband, Bob, working long hours, she had returned to the workforce to provide better for them. Fortunately, her mother had volunteered to look after the younger kids while she was at work.

However, Jessie would come home exhausted each night, barely spending any time with her children. As she drifted off to sleep, she made a promise to herself to do better the next day and spend quality time with her kids.

Regrettably, that promise went unfulfilled. Each day became more complicated and challenging, with the grumpy customer and other demanding patrons. Being a waitress now proved to be more arduous than when she was younger, but at least the tips were generous.

***

For years, Jessie had been serving the elderly and grumpy Mr. Norton, and she had developed a unique approach to dealing with him that impressed her fellow staff members.

She exhibited extraordinary patience and took the time to learn a bit about his life. Most of the time, he acted like a child throwing a tantrum, but occasionally, he would display moments of surprising pleasantness and show genuine interest in Jessie’s life. Despite his frequent complaints, he consistently left a respectable 15% tip, which was a small consolation.

However, one day, there was no money on the table. Typically, he would pay and leave some extra bills, but on this occasion, Jessie discovered a key and a note. Her brows furrowed as she picked them up.

“Dear Jessie, thank you for putting up with this old grouch for so long. I’m moving to a special hospice facility, so I won’t be returning. This key is for my house. It’s yours now. I’ll provide my lawyer’s contact information so that you can officially handle everything. Goodbye, dear. P.S. The tea was too sweet, but I didn’t complain. You see, my time is running out,” Jessie read aloud, her voice filled with shock.

She couldn’t believe it. Mr. Norton had left her his house key, his address, and his lawyer’s contact details. It seemed impossible. Why would he leave his home to a complete stranger? Jessie wondered to herself. She knew he had a family.

Driven by curiosity and concern, she contacted the lawyer to inquire about the hospice facility, hoping to visit and find some answers. Upon arriving, she witnessed firsthand the frailty and emaciation that had overtaken Mr. Norton. She hadn’t noticed the extent of his condition while he was at the restaurant, but now it was painfully evident.

The old grumpy man repeated what was in the note and told her it was real.

“But why? What about your children?” Jessie asked, confused.

“My children hate me. I haven’t seen or heard from them in many years. I was grump to everyone in my life for as long as I can remember, and the only person who ever dealt with me with a big smile was you. So, keep that house for your big family. It’s huge. It’s meant for people like you, who can be patient with old things,” Mr. Norton told her, and Jessie finally broke down in tears.

She had no idea when she had started to like Mr. Norton’s presence, but the idea of never seeing him again was too much. Or perhaps, she just hated that he was dying alone. So, that weekend, Jessie brought her children to meet him, and for the first time in years, he saw the old man smile. That was worth a thousand tips.

Mr. Norton died a few weeks later, and Jessie officially inherited the house. His lawyer said that his family didn’t want anything, so his entire estate went to her in the end. There wasn’t much aside from the beautiful home, but it was a massive thing for her big family.

Her children were delighted because they now had their own rooms, and Jessie and her husband had earned promotions at work, which meant their financial situation was a bit better. They had many things to be thankful for, so they volunteered as often as possible at the local senior center in honor of Mr. Norton.

And Jessie always paid attention to the older folks with the worst attitudes. She knew they were grumpy for a reason, and they reminded him of the man who changed her life.

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Waitress Serves Grumpy Old Man for Years, One Day He Leaves a Surprise for Her at the Table.
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