The old man shuffled slowly into the restaurant. With head tilted, and
shoulders bent forward, he leaned on his trusty cane with each unhurried
His tattered cloth jacket, patched trousers, worn out shoes, and warm
personality made him stand out from the usual Saturday morning breakfast
crowd. Unforgettable were his pale blue eyes that sparkled like
diamonds, large rosy cheeks, and thin lips held in a tight, steady
He stopped, turned with his whole body, and winked at a little girl
seated by the door. She flashed a big grin right back at him. A young
waitress named Mary watched him shuffle toward a table by the window.
Mary ran over to him, and said, "Here, Sir. Let me give you a hand with
Without saying a word, he smiled and nodded a thank you. She pulled the
chair away from the table. Steadying him with one arm, she helped him
move in front of the chair, and get comfortably seated. Then she scooted
the table up close to him, and leaned his cane against the table where
he could reach it.
In a soft, clear voice he said, "Thank you, Miss. And bless you for your
"You're welcome, Sir." She replied. "And my name is Mary. I'll be back
in a moment, and if you need anything at all in the mean time, just wave
After he had finished a hearty meal of pancakes, bacon, and hot lemon
tea, Mary brought him the change from his ticket. He left it lay. She
helped him up from his chair, and out from behind the table. She handed
him his cane, and walked with him to the front door.
Holding the door open for him, she said, "Come back and see us, Sir!"
He turned with his whole body, winked a smile, and nodded a thank you.
"You are very kind." he said softly.
When Mary went to clean his table, she almost fainted. Under his plate
she found a business card, and a note scribbled on a napkin. Under the
napkin was a one hundred dollar bill.
The note on the napkin read... "Dear Mary, I respect you very much, and
you respect yourself too. It shows by the way you treat others. You have
found the secret of happiness. Your kind gestures will shine through
those who meet you."
The man she had waited on was the owner of the restaurant where she
worked. This was the first time that she, or any of his employees had
ever seen him in person.
Note: This story is based on actual events experienced by a friend from
St. Paul, Minnesota. The note is the exact wording on the napkin that
she has kept in her scrap book for fifteen years.
About The Author: Steve Brunkhorst is a professional life success coach,
and the editor of Achieve! 60-Second Nuggets of Inspiration, a popular
mini-zine bringing stories, motivational nuggets, and inspiring thoughts
to help you achieve more in your career and personal life.