For nearly seven years Melina Salazar did her best to put on a smile and tend to the every need of her most loyal and cantankerous customer.
She made sure his food was as hot as he wanted, even if it meant he burned his mouth. And she smiled through his demands and curses. The 89-year-old Walter "Buck" Swords obviously appreciated it, leaving the waitress $50,000 and a 2000 Buick when he died.
"I still can't believe it," the Luby's cafeteria employee told Harlingen television station KGBT-TV in an interview during which she described Swords as "kind of mean."
Swords, a World War II veteran, died in July. But Salazar learned just a few days before Christmas that he had left her the money and car.