In a time when Millennials offer little hope to feel good about the future, a story of a restaurant server’s treatment of a 91-year-old World War Two veteran breaks over the horizon like warm rays of sunshine.
Shared on Facebook by Lisa Meilander, who was dining with her family at Eat’n Park diner in Belle Vernon, Penn., the server caught her attention when he kneeled down to take the order of an elderly man seated alone in a nearby booth.
Meilander explained in the post that has been seen more than 233,000 times she did not notice when the man came in.
“But we did notice when our server, Dylan, dropped to one knee to look him eye-to-eye as he got ready to take his order,” she wrote.
As she recounted what was to take place, it’s hard to image someone getting through the post with a dry eye.
“The man apologized for not hearing too well,” Meilander said. “He had forgotten to put in his hearing aids. He talked about how he lost his hearing during his time in the war. He was 91 years old with many stories to tell. Dylan patiently listened giving him his full attention. “
“I’m alone now and I don’t often have someone to talk to,” the vet told the server, after apologizing for talking so much.
“Dylan smiled and said he enjoyed listening,” according to Meilander.
The preschool teacher explained that she wanted to pay the man’s bill, but overheard another customer ask the server about it before she got a chance. The customer was told the tab had already been picked up by someone else.
“I guess we weren’t the only ones eavesdropping on the conversation,” she wrote.
But the story doesn’t end there.
After the man received his order, the server came back around. Explaining that he was on break, Dylan asked if he could sit with the vet as he ate.
“As we left the restaurant the two of them were conversing and many people seated nearby were smiling. It was a touching sight,” Meilander said.
“With all of the negative stories about our youth today this was a breath of fresh air,” she said in conclusion. “I wonder if I would have been as kind and attentive if I were the one working there.”
Meilander would later tell Fox News she was shocked by the response to the story — more than 16,000 people left a comment.
“I am totally blown away by the response to this post!” she said. “I am glad it has touched so many and hope that much good comes as a result of it. My expectation was that people in the local area would be encouraged by this young man’s compassion. Never did I expect it to catch fire and spread like it did.”
The server, Dylan Tetil, is a 24-year-old radiology student and he was interviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“I could tell as soon as I went up to him that he was eager to talk,” he told the paper. “I brought him out his water, and he was like, ‘Please come back,’ and I said, ‘You know I will.’”
The veteran had a meal of grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and apple pie, and Tetil shared a little of what the two talked about.
“He mainly just told me his war stories from World War II and his life,” Tetil said. “He kind of seemed like he felt underappreciated. No one around us minded it because they knew what was happening.”
Eat’n Park spokesman Kevin O’Connell told the Tribune-Review the restaurant chain is happy with the server’s actions.
“We call ourselves ‘The Place for Smiles,’ and we train our employees to look for opportunities to serve,” he said. “Dylan obviously really embraced that goal. … I think people are looking for kindness and human connection in the world, which is why it went viral.”
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