Treat others the way you would like to be treated. It’s a statement we’ve all heard countless times, and it’s critical that we put it into practice.

Consider the story of waitress Melina Salazar, whose experience demonstrates the genuine benefit of being pleasant to others, regardless of how they connect to you.

It would be an understatement to describe the client Walter ‘Buck’ Swords as finicky and feverish. For years, the combat hero would come to Melina’s restaurant and gripe, become upset, and even curse the waiters. In fact, he was so rude to the waiters that most of them refused to serve him.

Except for Melina, who greeted every diner with a friendly grin and an endeavor to make their eating experience more enjoyable.

Throughout those years, Melina treated the 89-year-old man with the same warmth she provided to all of her customers. She delivered him the food just as he requested — hot — and was nice and pleasant to the grumpy old guy at every opportunity.

They started to trust one other. Melina looked after her regular customer, and Buck knew that every time he came in, he would be greeted with the same warmth and grin as his regular waitress.

But when Buck failed to appear at the restaurant one day, his devoted waitress became concerned. Worried about the worst-case scenario, Melina proceeded to read the obituaries in the local daily, which confirmed her darkest fears: Buck had died.

The next day, a lawyer entered the eatery and inquired about Melina. The two sat down and began to converse, and the topic shifted from politeness to a serious subject concerning Buck. The lawyer explained to the pleasant waitress how Buck had frequently mentioned his favorite server, how lovely and warm she was, and how he’d always expected to visit the restaurant because of her.

What the lawyer told her afterward, however, she had not expected.

Buck not only believed she was a great woman, but he also left her $50,000 and a car as part of his legacy. Melina couldn’t believe what she was hearing and was moved to the core of her being.

This story is proof that good deeds are always rewarded — sometimes in unexpected ways.

We hope that this wonderful woman will inspire everyone to look beyond a person’s weakness and make people treat everyone with warmth and respect, no matter what