Lifestyle & Human Interest

Elderly Man Who Lives Alone Has Sat at Same Table at IHOP for 34 Years


Even though some believe that repetitive behaviors can become mundane and boring, there are plenty of benefits to consistency, especially when it comes to building and maintaining relationships with others.

An 89-year-old man from Bryan, Texas, understands those benefits all too well; he has eaten at the same table at the College Station IHOP for the past 34 years, and some days, he visits up to three times.

Jack Worbington, also known as “Mr. Jack,” told KBTX that his long-standing routine began shortly after he retired from the Bryan post office in Feb. 1985.

“I came up here and had coffee and read the paper and I just happened to sit at table 12. This is table 12 and I’ve been here nearly every day since,” he continued.

Mr. Jack said the employees of the popular breakfast diner have become family for him over the years, which makes his daily visits even sweeter.

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Despite the fact that the employees don’t know his last name, they feel the same way about him, especially enjoying his kind and humorous personality.

“He’s like a breath of fresh air,” IHOP employee Shawn Hardy said.

“It means a lot to each and every one of us when he comes,” waitress Patricia Brown added.

Mr. Jack also shared that he has creatively crafted his obituary so that after he passes away, his IHOP family will know.

“They don’t know if I’m Jack Spratt or Jack Frost or Jack Smith anyway, so since I live by myself I have my obituary pretty well written up at the funeral so I got it ‘Jack (“Mr. Jack”) Worbington’ so if somebody up here sees it, they know that I croaked,” he shared with a smile on his face.

“Until then, I’ll be here.”

He even tells staff at IHOP that they should place a special plaque on top of Table 12 that reads, “Mr. Jack’s Table.”

Even though Mr. Jack doesn’t know how long he’ll be able to continue his 34-year tradition, he plans on enjoying it as much as he can.

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“(B)ecause I might lose my driver’s license or be in assisted living or nursing home anytime, so I come up here as much as I can,” he said.

But for now, Table 12 will always be reserved for Mr. Jack, and the employees at the College Station IHOP will greet him with a smile every time he walks through the door.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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