"I had a nice, young couple come in with their toddler daughter. The woman was obviously a working mother and had a shirt on from another restaurant. All good. One of the times I was walking by, I heard her literally begging him to start paying his child support because she was struggling. Not 10 minutes later, the dude's new girlfriend showed up, smoked a couple of cigarettes at the table with the toddler, and then the dude took off with her - I hated him so much, and bought the mother's meal."
"Once it was a young girl (16) telling her mother she was pregnant. Her mother just could not believe it; couldn't wrap her mind around it, insisted there is no way the girl was no longer innocent, and she needed to go to the doctor to figure out what was wrong. Poor girl ended up in tears. CLEARLY she was already frightened and needed help and guidance.
Also have watched a few couples break up. Usually, they manage to keep it together and just sit there angrily until their meal is finished, but one time one of the parties just sat there, sobbing. I brought her an ice cream when her newly ex-girlfriend left. I usually steer into the skid of awkwardness during breakups by keeping an especially upbeat and happy tone.
Then we had a regular who brought dates to the restaurant all the time. We thought he was single until he brought his wife in and one of the servers said, 'Who is this one?' right in front of the wife. I couldn't believe my ears at the rude question alone, but the wife's facial expression made it clear she picked up on it and when the husband introduced her as his wife, I immediately had to get out of that awkward situation. Thank goodness it wasn't my table."
"One of the owners of the hotel was showing off by having a fancy dinner in the hotel restaurant with some of her friends. She seemed to think that the staff were some kind of inferior species and would barely acknowledge us so I wasn't surprised when she just kept talking as I was clearing things from the table.
What I wasn't expecting was for her to say, 'I really can't wait for my mother to just die. She would never let us sell the hotel, but as soon as she's gone I'm getting out of this business. I can't wait to have all that money.' Then they all laughed.
The thing is, I knew her mother well since she was always pottering around the hotel. She was an adorable 80-something-year-old woman who treated us all like her grandchildren, and would always remember who we were, and what we were doing in our lives. She wasn't even ill or anything. The old lady had been the one who built up the family hotel-business from the ground before turning it over to her daughters when she got too old to work so hard. I was absolutely disgusted to overhear that."
"I worked in the kitchen of a rather small bistro a few years back. A middle aged guy showed up, got seated at the table directly out of the serving window and proceeded to wait 15 or so minutes for the wife to get there. He had driven, I don't know how she got there. The wife was about 10 years younger, attractive, blonde, not really out of his league but we could instantly tell she was high maintenance. He was very sweet, brought her flowers and pulled her chair out. For the next 20 minutes, he did everything he could to try and get her attention, but she wouldn't take her eyes off her cell phone for more than a few seconds at a time. He kind of gruffed and we could tell he had enough. He pulled out his cell and sent a text. She looked up from her phone a few seconds later and said, 'Really?'
To which he replied, 'Yes, I've had enough.' She stood up, took his car keys off the table, stormed out and did a 100ft burnout in his Charger before leaving. He asked if we could make their dinner to go and then realized she had his wallet. He was able to get her to bring his wallet back and then she left in another burnout. Before he left, he gave his wedding band to his waitress and asked her to throw it in the trash and took his food to go and just started walking down the street."
"I work at a fun, family owned, all American, Chuck-E-Cheese/dinner and ice cream parlor place. I was serving this table that consisted of a dad and his 8 or 10-year-old daughter. They were there for one of her friend's birthday party, but he took her aside to a different table all the way across the restaurant from the party. He ordered a giant sundae, the biggest one we serve which is supposed to feed four people. I came back with this novelty sized festive sundae and as I sat it down in the middle of the table, the father nonchalantly announced that he and her mother were getting a divorce. I was ordered away. He pulled out a newspaper and let her sit there, crying in front of a melting mountain of ice cream sundae. After they left the birthday party, the mother of the birthday girl asked me what was up because she was supposed to rejoin the party but they didn't; I didn't tell her about the divorce but said that they just got some bad news."
"Mom: 'Yeah, I can't believe Laura is gonna be a Lyft driver.'
Aunt: 'She's throwing her life away.'
Mom: 'And that's what I told her! First, she gets an STD with that loser of a boyfriend. She complains about how he never told her, but even I said to her to stay away from him, he's trouble.'
Aunt: 'I remember that.'
Mom: 'Now she's pregnant and trying to pay for a baby on a Lyft driver salary. I need to tell her to go get that baby out of her now.'
Aunt: 'I thought you don't believe in tha-'
Mom: (whisper shouted) 'I don't want a black baby!'
Yeah...It was a small restaurant and there were only two tables."
"I work at McDonald's and we have table service, this means that we bring your food to your table and have to come back five minutes later to check up on you and see if you need any condiments, napkins, etc.
Well, I was on table service this day, I get the order and run it to the top floor. It's pretty quiet up there since it's generally occupied by businessmen during the day who come to work and drink coffee. This day was especially quiet, there were only two tables occupied. I brought the food up to the table and it was two women in their early 20s. I gave them their food, checked if they needed anything and left. Five minutes later I went back up. I was walking up to their table and I heard, 'You pooped on his what!?' No attempt to quiet her voice. My initial reaction was to turn around and just leave, but the one who apparently pooped on something turned in my direction and made eye contact, so I had to go over. I asked if everything was okay with the food and if they needed any condiments.
Her response was, 'Anything but BBQ.' I laughed, the girl looked mortified."
"I once served a man and his adult daughter. She was begging him to give her mother a second chance. I gathered, from the bits of conversation I heard, that mom had a pretty serious mental disorder. Both dad and daughter admitted that the mom was not at fault, but dad was a broken man after living with this for so many years. It was so heartbreaking. I tried not to eavesdrop, but this was a small cafe and their table was very close to my barista station."
"An elderly couple sat down at a table in my section once. The husband obviously had some severe health issues (oxygen tank, and a nurse with him) so I guess he decided before he died to confess to an affair he'd had during WW2 with one of the nurses in Germany. The wife was a little teary-eyed at first, but forgave the guy, saying, 'We've been married almost 75 years, you think I'm gonna let the past ruin it all now?'"
"I knew a guy when I worked at the local mall who was a waiter at one of the restaurants there.
Party of six: mom, dad, grandparents, teenager, and kid.
As he was taking their orders, the dad got a call on his cell.
Their oldest son had just gotten into a head-on-collision and died instantly. The entire group immediately went into shocked, explosive sobbing, apologized for causing a scene, and quickly left."
"I'm a Starbucks Barista. It's crazy what people will talk about, right in front of us as if the barrier between the cafe and the bar doesn't exist. These two ladies came in once and as I was making their drinks, they started talking about the great action between the sheets Lady #1 was having and how much Lady #2 missed it. Turned out that #1's current husband is #2's ex. #2 dated the guy for five years and #1 just started dating him 3 months after he was caught cheating by #2. I couldn't figure out what blew my mind more, the fact they were comfortable talking about male bits sizes in front of me, or that they were comfortable talking about it with each other given the circumstances. Either way, crazy stuff."
"I had a table that consisted of a young teenage boy, his parents, and his girlfriend. I'm not sure how THEY got to this point in the conversation, but it came up somewhere between ordering their food and the food being ready that the boy and the girl had done the deed. The table was a mess of emotions for the rest of the night. The fury of the father, the disappointment of the mother, the defiance of the son, and the mortification of the girlfriend. I'm not sure why they didn't leave immediately to sort it all out at home, but they stayed the whole meal and made things awkward for everyone."
"At my old restaurant job a fairly large table, about six people, came into the restaurant. While three members were in the bathroom, I was dropping off food and overheard the other members talking about how to get the other three to get busy with them and how to pair up. They didn't stop talking even as I was delivering food and one of the women winked at me, which I had no idea how to interpret. Pretty strange."
"I worked in a national chain family restaurant in a small, college town. Often worked Sunday mornings and after the wave of families from 9 till noon, you start getting the hungover college kids. There were a lot of pairs in there that were clearly one night stand hookups. You could just tell someone said, 'Well, at least let me buy you breakfast.' Lot of avoiding eye contact, staring at phones, and with awful bed hair and makeup from the night before still on. No judgement though, they were getting more than I was.
Walked up to a couple figuring out where they could get Plan B. I realized that and tried to do a sharp turn to a different table. It seemed like a personal moment, but they notice me make my beeline, I think, because they really seemed embarrassed for the rest of the meal. I definitely could have done it smoother."
"My favorite was a father and a son (he was maybe seven years old) who came in and sat down. I greeted them and the father said to me, 'A Long Island for me. Nothing for him.' So I brought this man a Long Island iced tea and he guzzled it down fast and wanted a refill. After about three, he was officially sauced and yelling at his son. After walking by enough times (yes, your sever absolutely does walk by and try to listen to your conversations if they seem interesting enough), I was able to pick up that the boy had been caught shoplifting at the Target nearby. This man was getting so many drinks so he could properly yell at his son, I suppose. My favorite thing the man said was in a very slurred voice, 'AND RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR AUNT WANDA!!'"
"I walked up to a table that wasn't mine to drop off an appetizer for a young couple:
Me: 'Hello, here's your mozzarella...'
Guy: 'Will you marry me?'
Me: '...sticks.' (Turns and runs away)
Why? Why would you propose in a crappy, cheap, restaurant where the servers wear jeans and t-shirts, and you throw peanut shells on the floor? Now I am forever a part of their engagement story."
"Two adults and two teenagers, woman and girl on one side of the table, man and boy on the other. I just assumed it was a normal family out for dinner. Walked up after some time to take their order and they were all deep in conversation. Turns out, they weren't related...yet. They were all discussing what to do about the boy getting the girl pregnant."
Jan H Andersen/Shutterstock
"I watched a kid, probably 13-15, coming out to his parents.
Got to give him a ton of credit for doing that in public, but you could tell dad was about to flip out. Mom looked sad but was really supportive.
Just never expected to walk up to refill a glass of tea to hear a kid coming out to his family."
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
"I'm a waiter at a retirement home. This table of residents was getting up after their meal and I heard one of the old ladies say to another old lady:
'I'll be up to rub your derriere in a little bit.'
I was mortified. Racking my brain to think of other things she could have said, I knew I wasn't mistaken. That sentence was as clear as the crack of baseball bat hitting a baseball. The thought of one old lady rubbing another old lady's gigantic, saggy butt -- I'm not sure how I slept that night."
"Right after my shift, I was sitting down and doing all the paperwork for my tips when I saw this couple starting to get irritated with each other. The girl was sitting, looking at her phone, and the guy was talking at her. Guy said, 'at least (woman's name) doesn't spend all my effing money on a class-A moron!' Girl, not lifting her eyes from her phone, grabbed her glass of water and dumped it in the guy's lap. The guy stood up, put some bills on the table, and walked out. She apologized to the bartender but was crying at this point. I never got the context, but I don't think I really needed it."
"This is the creepiest interaction I've had working at a restaurant. It was a slow night during the winter and the restaurant was completely empty. An older gentleman and a young man came in together. I initially thought they were a father and son. The man was in his 50s and the boy was maybe 18. When I went to bring out their food, they had turned off every light in the entire dining room except their own table light. They were loudly discussing how 'lifted' they were and massaging each other's feet. I'm pretty sure it was a sugar daddy situation..."
Jan H Andersen/Shutterstock
"I walked up during what looked like a lull in conversation between a young couple, but the girl launched into prayer instead, asking for help in keeping her guy away from 'the temptations of the flesh' and such. As she went on, eyes closed, the guy looked up at me and shrugged. I never found out what it was all about specifically, but he obviously wasn't taking it seriously while it was a dire situation for her. They'd only gotten drinks by the time she obviously broke up with him. It was so awkward to ask whether they wanted to order or just wanted the check."
"I had a couple sitting at a table, all appeared normal, just regular conversation. No yelling, no screaming, just quietly talking. About 15 minutes later, I looked over just as she finished whatever it was she was saying, and it must have been bad because I don't think I've ever seen a person look as devastated as that guy did - looked like his soul had just been pulled out.
I kept watching because it was a slow day and I'm curious. She was talking again, looked like she's trying to explain, he now had this absolutely blank expression, like someone in shock. He picked up his drink, all seemed normal - BAM! Glass pretty much explodes. Guy was gripping hard enough to splinter the glass into his own hand. Blood all over the table, girl looked shocked now, guy still had his poker face on. He pulled some glass out of his hand and nodded at her to keep talking. She did. They finished the conversation, guy stood up, still with the thousand-yard stare, and made his way out. Right as he was about to exit, without breaking stride, he hauled off and punched the wall, full force. Must have broken his hand, darn near broke the wall. No change in expression, nor any other reaction."
"I was going to a table with a dude in his 40s with a woman who appeared to be in her 70s, eventually figured out this was a mother and her son.
The son kept getting a phone call at the table and he would excuse himself to me and his mother to take it. As I overheard his side of the conversation, I slowly came to realize he was instructing the person on the other end on how to make drugs.
Turns out he's a recovery sponsor for this guy who had decided to use and, after not being able to talk him out of it, wanted to make sure he was at least being as safe as possible. I looked at his mom, who told me that through the years, she had seen and heard plenty of worse things with her son."
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