he old man shuffled slowly into the restaurant. With head tilted and shoulders bent forward, he leaned on his trusty cane with each unhurried step. His tattered cloth jacket, patched trousers, worn-out shoes, and warm personality made him stand out from the usual Saturday morning breakfast crowd.
A young waitress named Mary ran over to him, and said, “Here, sir. Let me give you a hand with the chair.” Without saying a word, he smiled and nodded a thank you. Steadying him with her arms, she helped him move in front of the chair, and get comfortably seated. Then she 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 kind gestures.” “Youre welcome, sir,” she replied. “And my name is Mary. Ill be back in a moment, and if you need anything at all in the mean time, just wave at me!”
After he had finished a hearty meal of pancakes, bacon, and hot lemon tea, Mary brought him the change from his check. He left it on the table. She helped him up from his chair, and handed him his cane, then 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.
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, the way you treat others shows that 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.endprint