WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — With all the seemingly bad news out there, it’s important to appreciate moments of kindness and give credit where credit is due.
That’s why Eyewitness New morning anchor Chris Langlois stopped by a local cafe to tell the story of one man who knows first-hand just how kind people can actually be.
It was a typical start to a Sunday morning at Julie’s Cozy Cafe in Wilkes-Barre. Customers at their regular breakfast spot, hungry and ready to eat. But what’s a regular spot without its regulars?
“Eh, at least three times a week I’m usually here,” Joseph Saukulyak said.
“He’s such a good man and he comes in all the time,” waitress Helen Spindler said.
92-year-old Joseph Saukulyak is one of those customers you remember meeting.
“When I come in I say good morning, how are we, how’s everyone, how do you feel,” Saukulyak said.
A World War II veteran, husband of 61 years and now a great-grandfather, Mr. Saukulyak is known around these parts as Mohegan Joe. In his nineties, he still works as an usher at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The people keep bringing him back.
“I get along great with all of them,” Saukulyak said.
But this regular’s irregular Sunday all began when a young couple stopped for a bite, sitting in the booth behind him.
“I was gonna pay my bill and Julie says, well your bill is paid for,” Saukulyak said.
The couple had taken it upon themselves. As they got ready to leave, server Helen Spindler recalls they took things a step further, asking to buy Mohegan Joe a gift card for the cafe.
“I said okay, how much would you like to buy the gift certificate for and he goes ‘here’s $150.’ I said are you sure? He goes ‘here, but please, do not tell them that we’re doing this,” Spindler said.
Before Joe could even learn about the gift card, this gracious couple had paid their bill and were out the door.
“I said you’ve got to be kidding. Exact words,” Saukulyak said.
“He goes, you’re kidding me. No, you’re kidding me,” Spindler said.
“How often does this happen?” Saukulyak said.
In today’s day and age with faces buried in phones and politeness not as common as it used to be, the proof is in the pancakes that a simple gesture can make a difference.
“I’d give them a big hug and a kiss!” Saukulyak said with a laugh.
This regular will keep coming back with his gift certificate in tow and an appreciation for the kindness shown by complete strangers.
“The majority of people are great. They’re great. They’re great, really,” Saukulyak said.