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My Brush With an Angel in Ellendale North Dakota

Do you remember reading about a very pleasant, cheerful, Cracker Barrel waitress a few months ago that received a $6000 tip for her sunny, positive disposition?

Well I met her over the weekend in a tiny little North Dakota town.

My wife and I had to travel to Ellendale North Dakota to celebrate my aunts 90th birthday.

If you’re not familiar with Ellendale, it’s about 38 miles north of Aberdeen, right across the North Dakota border. I think the population is around 1300ish on a good day.

Anyway, as you can imagine in a thriving metropolis such as Ellendale there is not a great deal of things to do, or a variety of places to eat.

I had built up a powerful hunger by the time we arrived, so I asked a local where can a guy get a burger this time of the day? The answer was simple, The Fireside. The only restaurant in Ellendale.

So off we went to check this small town eatery out. It was just like you would imagine a restaurant would be in a town the size of 1300. Rustic! Furniture that looked like it was purchased in 1974, pictures of Ellendale throughout the years hanging on the walls and a jukebox with both kinds of music, country and western. In other words kinda cool.

What it also had, that I didn’t know at the time was Abigail Sailors.

Abigail was the waitress that became famous for the $6,000 tip she received from a gentleman at a Cracker Barrel in Lincoln Nebraska. This man was so impressed with the kind service he received from Abigail that day, and so touched by the story of her tough upbringing, that he did something that helped change her life forever.

You see Abby’s 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.

She was then put into foster care where her  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.

During their conversation that day, Abby also mentioned the financial struggles she was experiencing at the time. She talked about how she didn’t think she would be able to return to Ellendale’s Trinity College for a second semester due to a lack of funds at the time.

One of the men, who oddly enough just happened to be a Trinity College alum himself opened up his heart and his checkbook and wrote Abby a $5000 tuition check and gave her another $1000 for supplies. The man was truly an angel in disguise.

One angel rewarding another angel.

Abby is the type of person that every 18-year should aspire to be like. Kind, sweet, funny, smart and very accommodating. She made our entire family feel welcome each and every time we dined at this little restaurant throughout the weekend.

And believe me, she put up with a ton of crap from me and my rowdy relatives all weekend. I can honestly say, she gave it back as good as she got it.

I can see why these two men were so impressed with her. I know my family and I were as well.

If you ever make it to the Fireside in Ellendale, make sure you tell Abby that Marc and Patti say hi.

I would also recommend you try the pancake breakfast. These cakes are the size of your face! What’s funny, my wife and I both had breakfast one morning for just over $11.00 bucks!

My bill from the Fireside
Pic courtesy of Marc Elliott

Gotta love small town life and small town prices!

 

 

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