Being a waiter or waitress is inherently awkward. You have to approach strangers, accommodate their every need, make small talk --- all while sporting a big fake smile to get you through the rest of your shift. But what's even more awkward is what you can "walk in" on. Giant fight between a couple? Awkward. Divorce papers over a weeknight dinner? Super awkward. Middle-aged women huddled around a phone watching
“It’s Her Birthday, But…”
“Outback Steakhouse. Walked up to greet the table ‘Hi folks, how are you?’ Guy asks wife for divorce right there. My jaw drops, I walk away from the table. She is sobbing, loud. I go back eventually and they order a full meal. Bloomin’ Onion included. The have a full meal, she sobs the entire time. She has difficulty eating. I s— you not, he says it’s her birthday and wants a dessert for her with a candle. So I had to bring out a Thunder from Down Under with a candle while she’s crying uncontrollably.”
Chain Restaurants Really Do Have A Bit Of Everything
“I used to work at a chain restaurant that was marketing towards being very family friendly; but we were located near the local University, so we got a lot of students from there as well. One time I caught a guy watching (sound off thank god) furry porn…Why?! THERE ARE CHILDREN NEARBY! Then there were the high school kids on a date where it’s obvious that it’s a fairly new relationship. Walked up as the girl was discussing what their future babies would look like… Once some elderly ladies didn’t hear me coming as they were discussing the difference between bjs with or without dentures… Oh, and that awkward moment when you realize that your regulars are NOT father & daughter, but actually boyfriend & girlfriend where boyfriend insists on being ‘Daddy.'”
“The Lady Turns To The Woman And Says…”
“As I approached the table, a lady brushed me out of the way and sat down next to the couple there. The couple was obviously on a date. The lady turns to the woman on the date and said, ‘So, I’m his wife. Who the f— are you?’ The woman on the date looked like a deer in the headlights and very quickly got up and left. She just said, ‘I’m sorry’ to the lady, didn’t even look at the man. The wife then spent the next 20 minutes quietly making the husband squirm, as she had sat next to him in the booth and blocked him in. Eventually, she left, and he awkwardly paid the bill (big tip) and left also. It was somewhat anti-climactic, but I had mad respect for the wife. I hope she left him for good.”
That’s Something You Don’t See Everyday
“I was waiting on a table of 5. A husband, a wife and their 3 kids. It seemed like nothing out of the ordinary, just a family having dinner. That is until like 20 cops rushed in through the back door, the front door and the side door. They surrounded the table while I’m standing there awkwardly holding a stack of dishes. They start cuffing the husband, the wife is screaming, all three kids are crying and confused and screaming. The cops drag him out to a car, and the wife finally says, ‘Um I have no money to pay our bill…’
About a minute later one of the cops comes back in and tosses her the biggest wad of cash I’ve ever seen. All I could think of to say is ‘…Sooo, anyone want dessert?’ Turns out the guy was a big-time drug dealer with multiple warrants out, and the police had been looking for him for a couple years. I did end up making the kids ice cream sundaes in to-go cups though.”
Welp, That Was Awkward
“I came to the table while they prayed before their meal about their dying relative. It was so awkward. I walked up with a, ‘Heyy guys, here’s that tartar and cocktail ya’ll…’ and was met with, ‘LORD PLEASE HELP JENNIFER OVERCOME CANCER.'”
“I’m a chef, but one of my servers came back to the kitchen with a thousand yard stare on her face. I ask her whats wrong she just says ’41’ meaning booth 41. 41 is two tables from the kitchen. So I act like I’m making my rounds in the dining room and I get near 41. It’s two nice mid-40s looking people dressed business casual from what I can tell. The woman is drunk or high (or both), passed out with a biscuit in her beer, smells like piss, and is with a plate full of our most expensive dinner, untouched. The guy with her smells like he s— his pants and has never bathed. Mind you, they’re clean cut looking people.
He’s happily chewing away mouth open on crab legs, mashed potatoes, and steak. He’s slamming his beer and chomping away. I just give a smile and nod and keep on walking. I make it near the bathroom, turn around and just watch them. He proceeds to poke her with a crab leg and says. ‘Can I have your a– when we get out of here?’ She drunkenly mumbles, ‘The fish and the ferry won’t fit up my a–.’ I look behind me toward the kitchen and all my cooks and a quite a few servers are piled around, just holding back laughter and looking at me. I look at them and say I have no f—ing idea what to do here.
About 10 minutes later he finishes his food. She wakes up, downs her beer (biscuit included), and they pay their tab with 20% tip. I had to close that corner of the restaurant for the rest of the night because the smell wouldn’t leave. I even took the booth seats out back as soon as they left. Their stink somehow soaked into the wood of the booth and lingered in my restaurant well past closing time. I made my cooks stand around the booth and smoke after closing in hopes that the cigarette smoke would smell better than they did.”
“At 18, having just found my first real job whilst supporting myself through uni, I walked over to a table to ask them if everything was okay with their meals. As soon as I asked, I noticed that one of the guys was wiping away tears, the other had a look on his face I had never encountered before…
‘So what you’re saying is you thought there was a chance you had HIV, but you still f–ked me?!’
I didn’t know what to do. Backed off, didn’t go back.”
“What Are You Doing?!”
“I was working at a Mexican Restaurant on Cinco de Mayo. I come over to a table of four that had been there for hours, 6 pitchers of margaritas deep. I asked them if they where doing okay and if they would like another pitcher, the lady closest to me looks at me and starts laughing. I then notice what I thought was water pouring off the side of the chair she was sitting in. It took me about 5 seconds to realize that she was actually peeing herself while she sat there looking me in the eyes laughing. I shouted, ‘What are you doing!’ and her husband quickly got up and took her to the bathroom. They came out with the husband in his underwear and the lady in his pants. He gave me $300 on a $200 tab and told me they left her shorts in the bathroom and they escaped out the back door.”
Sorry Honey, It’s An Important Call
“Early 2000, I served a couple, as soon as they were seated the guy got a phone call, and proceeded to take the call — it lasted the entire meal. His wife/girlfriend was furious by the time I brought out the dessert, which was when he finally hung up the phone. She yelled out, ‘F— you and f— your mum, we can’t even have one night out!'”
Mom Losing Her Cool
“I walk up to my table, which consists of a mom, dad, and their son (8 yrs old probably). The mom is going nuts. I guess another waiter was walking by with a pepper mill and it fell out of his hand and hit her on the head. Not hard but it’s not a small thing. Well, she’s going crazy, I’m trying to figure out what’s going on, and the table next to them is laughing at her freaking out. She keeps yelling, ‘He hit me! I want to call the cops! He hit me!’ The waiter is apologizing a s— load but she’s not having it. She yells, ‘THAT’S ASSAULT!’ and the table next to her that’s laughing yells, ‘No miss that’s A PEPPER!’
I lose it! Had to run to the back. I finally get my s— together and come back and the little kid is in hysterics now. The dad has had enough of his wife’s s— and is threatening to leave if she doesn’t calm down. Starts telling his wife, ‘Do you want me to leave again? Do you want me to go?’ The kid starts bawling and yelling ‘No daddy please don’t leave again. Mommy act normal! Please stay daddy!’ The lady finally drops the psychotics and finishes her food. We comp everything and they don’t leave me s—. I really don’t blame them cause after their incident I was a ghost. I avoided them like the plague. Poor kid.”
Being Cheesy Was The Least Of His Worries
“Guy and girlfriend come into our restaurant for dinner. Guy then secretly tells me he has a ring and wants to propose to her and wants it to be all special. I was to wait until a specific time and come and ask if the table ‘needed anything else,’ to which he would say ‘I do. I need her.’ And then get down on his knee, etc. etc.
I thought it was cheesy, but hey, I wanted to help the guy out and be a part of something like that, so I said I’d do it. I get to the table and ask the question, he then pops THE question and she burst into tears. But not good happy tears. She then blurts out that she wants to break up and that she was in love another guy, apparently a friend of his. I just slowly backed away from the table as his entire world came crashing down on him.”
Dad Was Doing What?!
“It was about a year ago and I worked at Red Lobster. At the time our current promotion was endless shrimp, so we would get some pretty interesting people in there… Well on this late Sunday night, I get a party of ten people and four of them are kids… You can imagine what kind of mess those little rugrats left me. They also let me know that they came in to celebrate a birthday. I swear these people got like fifteen orders of shrimp linguini.
Throughout the entire meal, the dad was yelling at his kids and it made me super uncomfortable, but I just ignored it. Finally, it was time for us to sing to this dude and I brought 5 other servers to sing with me. Well, as we all walk in with his dessert ready to sing, we see the dad with his son bent over his knee spanking him with his belt that he had been wearing. I started laughing out of nervousness because I felt so embarrassed for the child and him.
We tried to walk away and give them privacy but the dad insisted on us continuing the little performance. The little boy was in tears during the entire song. So, I immediately left the table and brought him a scoop of ice cream. I don’t believe any child should be embarrassed like that in public. Needless to say, they left a less than 10% tip. That is my most awkward serving experience.”
‘You’s A NASSTY Woman’
“Definitely my favorite moment ever waiting tables. I live way upstate New Hampshire and we very rarely see anything besides miserable old white people b—-ing at our tables. However, this one night an elderly black couple came in near closing along with the wife’s sister. Now, it was very clear they were just visiting the area as they had tourist garb on, ridiculous visors, fanny packs, shirts from local gas stations, not to mention their thick Southern accents. After chit chatting and introductions, they told me it was their first time up this far North and that they were from Georgia, the ‘Deep Dirty South.’ They were great. Very friendly, asking lots of questions about there area, just nice amicable people.
Since they weren’t my only table in the section that night, I found myself with my back to them, clearing off and resetting another table. The wife’s sister got up to go to the bathroom and this is when the hilarity ensued. All of the sudden a foul stench began to creep around the dining room. I, usually being the culprit of such artistry chose to ignore it, however, Mr. Georgia, could not.
Sniff Sniff — ‘You didn’t. I know you did, cuz’ I smell it, but you didn’t’
Mrs. — ‘I didn’t do nothin’ now shut yo mouth’
Mr. — ‘I been with you fifty years, and you think I don’t know you when I smell it?’
Mrs — ‘You shut up now!’
Mr — ‘We on vacation and out at a nice place and you farted. You’s a NASSTY Woman. Damn you NASTY.’
My back was to them during this conversation and I immediately started crying laughing. I gave them a free dessert and they had no idea why. I still hope every day I will see them come in again.”
“It Feels Good To…”
“I had an older single guy getting ready to leave so I go up and cash him out. He was a nice guy and didn’t give me any problems, but as soon as I got back to his table he was sitting on the edge of his seat, legs spread with his balls hanging out of his shorts all over the booth. With a toothy grin, he looked at me and said, ‘It feels good to finally air out.’ I dropped the change on his table without saying a word and went back into the kitchen to dry heave in shock. I bleached and unleashed an entire can of Lysol on that seat after he vacated the premises.”
“That Was Exactly What You Think It Was”
“I once approached a couple of our regulars and saw the wife making a hole with her left thumb and pointer (like the a-okay gesture), then taking her fist and pushing it into that hole and twisting her arm as she opened up her fingers around her arm then violently pushing her fist forward and back. I showed up to their table, completely stunned, and the wife saw me then quickly covered her face in embarrassment. After a couple moments of awkward silence, she just looked at me and said ‘That was exactly what you think it was.’ The two of them and I started laughing and the awkwardness was gone. The next time they came in the wife held up her fist and cocked an eyebrow at me, and that became how we greeted each other any time we saw each other. It stayed this way until I left that restaurant.”
The Jokester Manager
“At a restaurant where I used to bartend, we had jokester manager. One day she said to a server, ‘Sarah, I just sat you a table, you’ll need a high-chair.’ So Sarah goes to greet her table with a high-chair assuming her party has a small child. When she gets there, she finds three adults, one of whom is a midget. She froze in a panic and then started profusely apologizing. She explained that somebody else told her to bring the chair. They actually thought it was funny.”
She Had That Tone
“Middle of a breakup. I had already taken their drink order, and when I got back with the drinks they were glowering at each other and talking through clenched teeth in that seething. ‘I’m not yelling at you because we’re in public but you’re really in for it when we get to the car’ tone. I drop the drinks off, and as I’m walking away I hear, ‘Fine. F— you.’ and she storms past me. By the time I came back out of the kitchen, he was gone too. I guess they weren’t hungry after all.”
Daddy’s Got A Date
“I once had an old guy (between 60/70, beige trench coat…you know the type) come in and sit by himself for a while. He was then joined by an attractive 19 y/o blonde girl (I knew she was 19 because I had to ID her. Looked super young.) Anyway. She ordered a glass of wine (or rather, he ordered it for her) and he had another beer. I assumed she was just the granddaughter or something, were it not for the fact she looked SO uncomfortable.
Their table was RIGHT next to the bar where I was bartending, so I couldn’t NOT listen in. I noticed him touching her in a way that a grandad does not, and her telling him about various daddy issues that sounded ever so slightly made up; ‘He was never there, but I’ve always needed a father figure,’ etc. Turns out it was a sugar daddy type deal, he was finding out what she can ‘offer’ him, he had a ‘couple more people to see,’ etc. He escorted her out, hand on the lower back, full-on creep mode.
I shuddered and thought no more of it until I saw the guy in another bar when I went out for drinks after work. He was on the phone, saying things like ‘You in bed now babe? I’ll tuck you in. Daddy’s here. I’ll let you know if I choose you in the morning, what are you wearing baby?'”