Waffle House waitress gets needed help to fund funeral for regul - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Waffle House waitress gets needed help to fund funeral for regular customer

Posted: Updated:
CONCORD, NC (WBTV) -

Mike Pardalis sometimes didn't talk at all. He might have been quiet, but his impact on Mandi Gardner was huge.

Gardner has worked at the Waffle House in Concord for 11 years and says sometimes Mike would doze off in a corner booth. But he was nice and he was a long-time regular customer.

"Rough around the edges with a marshmallow middle," is how Mandi describes the man she knew for many years. "But he was a sweet man. He's not going to just walk away from you with your keys locked in a car standing there with a baby."

The last time Mandi saw Mike, he helped unlock her car. Now, she is returning a much bigger favor.

On April 10, Mike had a heart attack and died alone in his van.

For about two weeks, his body was at NorthEast Medical Center. Not a soul called about claiming him. Not unless you count Mandi.

"There's no memorial, there's no headstone, no goodbye, nothing for someone to track down and find," Mandi told WBTV on Tuesday.

That was until Mandi started a fundraiser to raise the money needed to claim Mike's body and provide him a respectable service.

The story went viral after it aired on WBTV and many of you stepped up to help Mandi make her goals happen.

"Instead of being discarded, he's getting a Veteran's funeral," she told WBTV on Wednesday.

Many people came forward with information on how Mike's funeral could be provided for free because he was an Air Force veteran.

Now, Mandi has received word that he's eligible to be buried at the VA National Cemetery in Salisbury because he was honorably discharged.

Mandi has received more than $2,000 in donations from people interested in helping pay for Mike's funeral.

Now it appears the cost will be covered. Many of the donors on the online fundraising site have suggested Mandi donate the money to military organizations.

Mike will be laid to rest with full honors Wednesday, April 30, at 11 a.m. at the VA National Cemetery in Salisbury.

The funeral is open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to attend.

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Two injured Omega Protein plant workers speak out

    Two injured Omega Protein plant workers speak out

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:54 AM EDT2014-07-31 10:54:16 GMT
    Two of the men injured in the Omega Protein explosion on Monday are speaking out about the deadly blast. In an exclusive interview with WLOX, the men describe what happened, and how they survived.More >>
    Two of the men injured in the Omega Protein explosion on Monday are speaking out about the deadly blast. In an exclusive interview with WLOX News, the men describe what happened that day, and how they survived.More >>
  • Prostitution sting nets 31 arrests

    Prostitution sting nets 31 arrests

    Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
    31 people are in trouble with the law after a three day prostitution sting in Richmond. Police told NBC12 they targeted specific areas where residents and business owners complained about the illegal activity.More >>
  • Fire destroys the Old Cuevas Bistro

    Fire destroys the Old Cuevas Bistro

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:20 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:20:04 GMT
    "Destroyed." That is how Harrison County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan described the aftermath of the Fire at The Old Cuevas Bistro on Menge avenue. Officials say the building caught fire around 11:30 WednesdayMore >>
    The owner of the Old Cuevas Bistro on Menge Avenue in Pass Christian says she does have insurance.  And she hopes to rebuild.  Rebuilding became necessary after a late night fire ripped through her restaurant.  "Destroyed." That is how Harrison County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan described the aftermath of the fire at the Old Cuevas Bistro.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.