Two customers walk into a Cracker Barrel in Lincoln, Neb., and ask to be seated in the section with the grumpiest server so that they can make him or her laugh.
That’s not a set-up to a joke, but the beginning to a story that shows how having a good attitude can really pay off.
The pair were told that the restaurant didn’t have any grumpy servers, so they were seated with the happiest: 18-year-old Abigail Sailors.
Sailors proceeded to tell the pair about her life: Her mother was incapacitated by a car crash when Sailors was an infant, and she and her four siblings were placed in a foster home when her biological father was deemed an unfit parent.
Things didn’t improve from there. “All the horror stories you hear about foster care,” Sailors’s sister Sydnie told the Lincoln Journal Star, “we lived through it.”
Their foster father was imprisoned for abuse, and Sailors and her siblings were split up by the state and remained apart for nine years, eventually reuniting in a new foster home.
Sailors told all this to the two patrons, eventually mentioning that she’d just finished her first semester at North Dakota’s Trinity College, but that financial problems were making the future of her education uncertain.
That was enough for one of the guests, who was a Trinity alum. He wrote Sailors a $5,000 tuition check, following it up with another $1,000 for supplies. (He also left a $100 tip, which Abigail split with another server.)
“I couldn’t believe it,” Sailors said. “I tried to thank them, and they said, ‘Thank God.’ ”
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