People say the craziest things while out to eat even though restaurants are public places where everyone can hear them. These servers share the most cringeworthy, shocking things they've overheard from customers while waiting tables.
This Bartender Stopped Something Terrible From Happening
“I was bartending. I had my back to two guys who’d just arrived and were about 3 beers in. They start talking about a girl and what they’d do to her, nothing I haven’t heard a thousand times until this: ‘Bet if we roofied her she’d do all of it’ followed by laughter. I just chalk it up to bad humor until one suggests just dropping it in her next drink. I stepped out of the bar, had my manager call the cops, and kicked them out when the cops got there. Searched them and sure enough, they had oxy and roofies on them.”
She Was Holding Back Tears
“A little girl’s (couldn’t be older than 10) dad’s drunk girlfriend was calling her fat, not pretty enough, etc. When they ordered, she asked for a baked potato and the girlfriend said ‘Really? Do you really need that potato, Hailey?’ The little girl was holding back tears all night. I messed up her order and brought her the potato. Then I brought her a free dessert to make up for the mistake, just to piss off the drunk girlfriend.”
She Clearly Didn’t Think This One Through
“In a Witherspoons and there was a slight lull in the Friday night noise and a buddy and I overheard a girl say, ‘Well technically he isn’t my brother so I shagged him’ to which her friend replied, ‘But you have the same dad.'”
“Well Maybe If You Hadn’t…”
“I waited tables at the Olive Garden 10 years ago. A guy and his wife sat down at a table and immediately started arguing. Something about his affair and how a baby from it was costing them money. Finally, it culminated as I was bringing out their salad. As I walked away I heard the wife say, ‘Well maybe if you hadn’t boned our son’s girlfriend and gotten her pregnant, we could afford to eat somewhere nicer than the freaking Olive Garden. Oh look, the highlight of my meal, unlimited bagged salad. Maybe you could save up and we could go to Joe’s Crab Shack for our anniversary.'”
“We’ve Got To Be More Careful About…”
“Well, I was a manager of a restaurant for a few years. There was this particular woman that came in from time to time, always with 2 boys around 13 or 14 years old. She wasn’t unattractive exactly, but there was something about the way she ‘eyed’ me up that even as a man made me uncomfortable. I was sitting with a couple regulars at a bar top, and she and the two boys were at the table behind me, my back was to hers. One of the boys gets up to go to the bathroom. I assumed they were both her sons, but after the one boy left, I heard this exchange: Woman: ‘We’ve got to be more careful. He almost walked in on us this morning.’ Boy: ‘I know. I’m sorry.’ Woman: ‘We can talk about it tonight after he falls asleep. Shhh, here he comes.’ At the time, I assumed maybe they were planning a party or something, my mind definitely did not go to some place sinister. Turns out it should have. She was a teacher for a local school, and apparently the boy she was talking to was a friend of her son’s. They knew each other from church. The boy told one of the church elders that he and she were having a sexual relationship. Turns out it had been going on for a year or more and they had sex 40+ times. She was sentenced to 6 years. It was really, really bizarre.”
“This was over 10 years ago and I had no idea what swinging and wife-swapping was. I was working breakfast fairly early at a downtown hotel in a big city. Husband is clearly upset and wife is acting half-sheepish/half-annoyed and they’d instantly get very quiet whenever anyone approached. Their conversation was clearly heated and the restaurant was pretty empty with high ceilings and marble walls (old bank), so even slightly raised voices carried. I’m walking towards the table and they didn’t see me coming… Husband: ‘How could I not be upset?! You let him do you from behind! Why did we even talk about rules if they don’t matter?’ Couples fighting at breakfast on Saturday or Sunday morning after a night of debauchery was always pretty common, but this was the only time I ever heard a fight about one particular unsanctioned action with a third-party.”
He Seemed Like A Nice Guy
“It was a slow Tuesday night behind the bar. I had one of my new guests come in, I had tended on him a few times. seemed like a super nice guy. Tipped well, drank well and ate well. On this particular night, a women came and sat down next to him. They seemed to know each other pretty well, so I’m thinking work buddies because I knew he didn’t have a girlfriend. So an hour or so goes by they have had 2 bottles of really nice wine, ordered basically everything they could off the menu, everyone was having a great time. Then my hostess comes around the corner of the bar and motions for me to come talk to her. ‘There is a man on the phone who is extremely upset and needs the bartender to talk to him,’ so I go for the phone, having no idea what this man wanted. ‘Hello sir thank you for holding, what can I help you with?’ The man starts with a question, ‘Is there a man with dark short hair, brown eyes, a bit on the bigger side sitting next to a short blond women with blue eyes at your bar?’ I turn around to get another look at them and reply to the man saying, ‘Yes, they have been here for a while, what’s up?’ They man doesn’t say anything for a few seconds then in a very unhappy tone said, ‘That’s my wife and my brother…’ Just as he said it I turn to look at the couple one more time only to see the end of a kiss. I told the man I wasn’t sure what I should do, or what he should do. I felt so awful. Seeing this man’s life literally crumble. I told the man I thought I should hang up and he should call his wife. After that, the man at my bar asked for his check, tipped well and the 2 of them left. I haven’t seen them since.”
You Hear Some Stuff When You’re In The Business For Over A Decade
“I’ve been waiting tables for a little over a decade now, and I definitely have some that stick out:
I once had to wait on a table where the mother and father were trying to calmly explain that they were getting a divorce to their 8-10 year old son. They started the conversation before the appetizers even hit the table, crying by the time the entrees came, and still stayed for dessert. The little boy kept asking if he did anything wrong. So uncomfortable.
I used to work at a nice bar in a really nice part of town, so a bunch of stories there. I was propositioned by a woman and her husband definitely old enough to by my parents, more than once. One table had two couples negotiating a swingers contract. Overheard a couple discussing pricing for the evening (which wasn’t surprising, she was stunning and he was about 40 years older than her).
The worst, though, is waiting on a table where you just know some kind of abuse is regularly occurring. I listened to this 20-something guy tell his girlfriend that, because she didn’t want to order what he told her to, she was a selfish witch and he would ‘fix’ her attitude later. I told my managers what I overheard, but because he didn’t do anything while in the restaurant, there really wasn’t much we could do.”
“I used to wait tables at a restaurant’s golf course, and this group of businessmen would always come and drink beer after their round. They ranged in age from 30-50. There would always be an elaborate song-and-dance about who would pay for the beers, but it tended to be the one guy who looked like the alpha in this group, who had a better watch and better clubs than the others. This goes on for months and then one day, one of the members who has never paid for a round ends up being on the hook – he has insisted, ‘No, I should pay,’ in the past, but this time, the others finally let him. He gulps, looks worried, and tries every card he has but they are all refused. He runs off to call his bank, and I hear the alpha mutter, ‘I should have made her get the abortion.’ Given the interactions of the two men, the alpha guy was his father-in-law and he had tried to get his daughter to abort the child of this loser.”
Respect The Buddha Or Else
“A nice looking family with two parents and a child walked into the vegetarian restaurant that I volunteered for. These restaurants in my country are often set up by pagodas, ran by monks for the purpose of charity (most of the time it’s from devout Buddhists who come to cleanse the souls by paying big money and eating vegetarian food). The parents were devout Buddhist, so they chose to be vegetarian, but the kid was forced to. I could see the pain in his face as he was forced to eat some tofu. He refused to eat as you may guessed. The father then slapped the kid with a slap so hard fifty people in the room could hear the kids’ teeth flying out of his mouth. The kid hit the floor hard before his mother held him by the ear and forced him to apologize to the Buddha for ‘disrespecting him.’ The father told him. ‘You little twerp better respect the Buddha or you will eat from the floor again tonight.’ Turns out that some Buddhist think that beating your child and feeding them food scrapes on the ground is ok but not becoming a vegetarian is a sin.”
“He Sure Liked Showing Me The Knife”
“While bar tending a man once told me he was going to kill his boss because an accident at the cement plant killed his friend, and nothing was done to fix the problem. I also had a guy come to the bar order a bottle of O’Douls non-alcoholic beer and a shot of vodka. He did this several times and would stand between the bar and his table and pour the vodka in the beer, then go back to his table. I don’t think he ever killed his boss but he sure did like showing me the knife he was going to use, and me being 21 and liking the tip money I wasn’t about to offend him and ask.”
Nope, Nope and NOPE
“‘I like my women like I like my whiskey. 15 years old with just a little bit of coke,’ 2 random dudes at the bar.
‘I’m not saying you can’t date him, I just don’t want you banging some negro in my house,’ dad talking to his daughter with the rest of the family present.
And I had a table of nurses who were describing in detail a penectomy they had to perform on an 85-year-old man. It was cancerous and they said it was so deformed it looked like a sweet potato.”
Setting A Great Example
“Late afternoon I had a 3 top family older couple and their adult son. The parents both ordered a cocktail, the son ordered a mocktail, then told me he had just (that morning) came out of rehab and COULD NOT have alcohol in his drink.
The other two proceed to order alcoholic drinks a few more times during their lunch, he was their sober driver apparently. They talked to him about rehab and his recovery and how he needed to straighten out his life.
I obviously didn’t say anything but I judged the drinkers hard for drinking in front of their fresh-from-rehab family member while lecturing him on being a black sheep.”
How NOT To Talk To Your Grandparents
“I was delivering food to a large table that looked like they were on a family reunion vacation when I overheard a grandpa asking one of the younger (12 or 13?) grandchildren if he had fun that day. The kid responded with, ‘F-you grandpa, I can’t wait until you die.’ I almost dropped all the plates in shock.”
“That Guy Is Weird”
“Strap yourselves in for story time.
I worked at insert thoroughly unpleasant diner chain in a low-income town for a long time and overheard some really nasty stuff. This one time, for example, a customer started seizing really badly. We had to call an ambulance for them and, as the paramedics did their thing, one of my tables decided to start mocking the individual that was quite literally dying on the floor.
But that isn’t a very fun story.
One time I had a young couple in my section. I was wolfing down some coffee (necessary for first-shift servers) so I missed them be seated, but when I noticed them I went over to say hi and get drink orders. Immediately it was obvious something was wrong. The guy had this… feel to him. You know when you meet somebody and you can just tell they’re the kind of person to kick someone when they’re down, the kind of person who’d bite the hand that feeds them? He was giving off that kind of vibe. Slimy, unpleasant. She seemed sweet. They ordered their drinks and as I was pouring them a coworker came up and said, ‘Dude, you gotta watch that table, that guy is weird.’ I asked why, and he said, ‘I was walking past when he grabbed my arm and just said, ‘Never cheat, man, never cheat.’ Huh. I take the drinks out and the guy grabs me by the arm and tells me, similarly, ‘Never cheat, man, you don’t ever want to cheat.’ His girlfriend looks embarrassed. I laugh nervously and say something along the lines of, ‘I love my wife enough to not have to’ and they order food. Every single time I approach the table he’s giving me the same thing. ‘Don’t cheat man, don’t cheat.’ ‘Don’t be dumb, man, never cheat on your girl.’ ‘You don’t wanna play man, don’t cheat.’ Her face was looking worse and worse and it became apparent, very quickly, that he had taken his girlfriend out to tell her he was cheating on her and was breaking up with her. At one point he said, ‘Don’t be like me, man, I’m not a good man.’ Eventually, he pays (‘Here man, just promise me you’re never gonna cheat, don’t throw things like that away man, don’t cheat’) and says something to her. She blurts something out at the same time as a sob and gets up to leave, and that’s when I see it: She’s Pregnant.”
Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right
“I saw a mother take her knife and with the flat part of it whack the hand of her 2-year old child because she was drawing something with her left hand. She yelled at her ‘No, use your right hand. Good girls don’t write with their left hands.’ This was as I was standing there taking their order and writing with my left hand.”
“It Shook Me Up”
“Was waiting a table a couple days ago for a group of older ladies. While I was walking back to the kitchen, I overheard one of them say, ‘You don’t know what it’s like to be married to such an ugly man’ and then said something about waiting for him to die so she’ll gain his money. It shook me up inside.”
No Place For A 4-Year-Old
“To this day I feel like crap having witnessed this. A couple years ago, working nights at a greasy spoon diner, I was used to really drunk people coming in all night. I rarely saw any children, and if I did, something felt wrong about it. One Saturday night, this woman dragged her 4-year-old daughter into the restaurant and ordered her a kids meal, which the girl would not eat, and she started to fuss. After a minute, the mom started cursing and dragged the girl by her arm into the bathroom, presumably to ‘teach her a lesson.’ They came back to the table a minute later and the child silently picked at her food. At the same time, a drunk couple came in. They were in good spirits, laughing, kissing, whatever. The angry mother spots them and starts screaming vulgarities at the man, who responds with something like, ‘Oh hell no, who the heck do you think you are bringing her here with your drunk butt at 3 am?!’ He goes to get his daughter, who screams ‘Daddy!’ And wraps her arms around his neck. He asked me to call them a cab, which I did, but no sooner did the mother start making a scene, trying to grab her child, and then started a very physical fight with the girlfriend when she couldn’t get the kid away from him. I called the police, which caused the mother to bolt, and the cops stayed with the father and girlfriend until the cab arrived. I hope he’s been a good dad.”
“I approached a table with a family of 5 to take their order. 2 adults and 3 kids from about 5 to 10 or so. One of the kids starts to say something and the father (strong Irish accent) cuts him off by saying, ‘Don’t say another word Peter. Nobody says another thing until princess mommy makes up her mind and decides what she wants for dinner.’ Followed by long awkward silence and me leaving. There was nothing funny or light-hearted about this guy or his comments. You could cut the tension with a knife.”
“Listened briefly to two 12 to 14 year old girls talk about their first time having sex… While their parents were sitting across from them!”
“I Bought Her Pepper Spray After That”
“My girlfriend waits tables. One time a creepy man said to her, ‘when I have sex with my wife, I think of you instead.’ The wife sitting at the table didn’t seem bothered by this fact. I also bought my girlfriend pepper spray and a taser soon after.”
These Girls Actually Think They’ll Get Away With This
“I’m a barista. I once overheard two teenage girls waiting on their drinks talking about whether or not they think that charges would be pressed against them for beating up a developmentally disabled girl. Apparently, they think they won’t be charged because ‘she deserved it.'”
This Woman Had A Busy Night Ahead Of Her
“I worked at a restaurant where you pay at the table and if you wanted a receipt, the server would go print it out and bring it back to you. I was waiting on a woman who every other server refused to deal with because she was such a hassle (she came in all the time). Complained about everything, basically made up her own menu items, etc. At the end of the meal when she was paying I asked if she needed a receipt, she said yes because she wanted proof she was here at this time in case she was accused of murder that night. She was so odd overall, but that comment unnerved me. You know when your opinion of someone goes from just being a little out there to totally whacked? That’s the moment, she definitely wasn’t joking.”
On The Rocks
“Two top at a pretty restaurant on the lake. Married couple obviously on the rocks… the guy quite obviously wanted to stay together and she was having none of it. Hushed arguing at the table the entire meal. As I am dropping the check he asks, ‘what about the baby?’ She replies ‘you don’t have to worry about that, it’s not yours!’ And storms off. Poor guy was weeping when I returned with the credit card slips.”
“Woman (smelling the fish that another table had ordered): ‘Oh god, what’s that gross fish smell?’ Man: ‘Close your legs.’ I picked my jaw up off the floor and ran away. She screamed at him and made him apologize to me… seems to me like he should have apologized to her but okay.”
“Hey, Question For You…”
“In college, I worked at this so-so place as a bartender and waiter when I was 21-22. One dinnertime when I’m waiting tables a couple walks in and is seated in my section. Maybe mid- to late 30s, married. When I approached I could tell they were arguing — she was quiet, distant. He was red in the face. I kept my spiel about the specials to a minimum, got their drinks order and then came back in a bit for dinner order. I could tell they were arguing again but they shut up as I approach. He orders for them both, tersely, then I start walking away when he says, ‘Hey, question for you.’ I turn back and say, ‘Yes sir?’ ‘Would you do my wife?’ I’m shocked, look confused, look at her. She’s staring daggers at him. I fumble for a moment, not sure I heard right or, if I did, what to say, then he says: ‘I don’t mean will you, I mean would you? I mean, is she attractive? Do you find her attractive?’ I’m red in the face and sweating but I dutifully glance at her, then mumble ‘Yes sir, she’s very attractive.’ He goes, ‘There. You see?’ and holds his hands up like ‘told you so.’ She glances at me and then hisses at him: ‘He’s in his 20s. He’d do a hole in the wall. You can leave now,’ she says, flapping a hand at me. I scurry away. My shirt was sticking to me. I didn’t say another word to them except to ask if they wanted refills on their drinks. They left a normal tip. To this day I still think about it.”
“Is She Seriously Implying…”
“It’s 1997 or 1998. Horrible chain Italian restaurant in a city whose most prominent native son is a fictional meth cook. A family sat down in my section. One of the kids was wearing a pageant costume and an absurd amount of makeup. She looked to be about 7 years old. On its own with no overheard conversation, this was legit creepy. But buckle your seatbelts, friends, it’s about to get a whole lot creepier. So I deliver carb bombs to this table and notice that the little girl’s kid cup of chocolate milk is nearly empty. I asked her parents if they would like me to bring her a refill, some 2% or whole, or some water, careful not to utter the words ‘chocolate milk’ just because most parents don’t want their kids having more than one cup of chocolate milk. They asked for water, so I brought a fresh cup of water. As I approached the table, I heard unhappy child noises. Then an adult says ‘JonBenet ALWAYS took at least one bite of her dinner.’ For context, the JonBenet Ramsey case was a big deal in New Mexico–it was just up the road, and it hadn’t been a year or so before. It was scary for parents, not something they joked about. Surely I’d misheard. Or was projecting. Because honestly, I had thought ‘who still does that JonBenet stuff anymore?’ when I first saw them walk into the restaurant. I gave the little beauty queen her water and she lost her mind. ‘I want chocolate milk!!!’ She takes a swat at the water cup, knocks it over. I pick it back up and get to cleaning up the mess. Mom says clear as day, ‘BrieHannah, what happened to JonBenet when she knocked over her drink?’ Now I’ve let a lot of things slide while waiting tables. If I’m not actively tuning out conversations, I’m certainly acting as if I am. But this, friends, this would not stand. After a long silence, I ask the mom, ‘I’m dying to know–what did happen when JonBenet knocked over her drink?’ Silence. ‘Oh no. No. You’re not implying…’ Silence. I often wonder what happened to that kid.”
You Never Know Who You’re Talking To
“I was bussing this table and I can hear these two guys speaking in Vietnamese to each other. One asks the other what they think about me. The guy responds and said I’m cute but I have a flat chest. Also, in my defense, we had to wear these oversized unisex shirts that was not flattering. But anyway, I just keep doing what I’m doing and continue on. When they came to the register to pay, one asked me what nationality I was and I smiled and said I’m Vietnamese . They looked shocked; then asked me if I spoke it, which I responded I did. Then he asked me in Vietnamese if I’m understanding him right now and I responded back in Vietnamese that yes I do. They didn’t say anything else and left.”
“He Catches Me In The Hallway And…”
“Bartender for 17 years. This one Sunday night a guy and his wife come in. He is here a lot with her too. They always had Red Label and sodas and try different things on the menu. The hotel bar is right next to the dining room but I’m the only person that works in the bar so I have to serve food too. About halfway thru their meal, I check on them and tell them I like it when they come in because it helps me learn the menu since they try many different things. She looks at him and says, ‘You’ve been here before?’ He says ‘No!! Never.’ A little while later he catches me in the hallway and yells at me for mentioning he’s been here before. I say, ‘You two always come here’ he says, ‘You idiot, that’s my wife! The other girl I bring is my girlfriend.’ He dates a girl that looks like his wife and drinks the same scotch and sodas as his wife, AND brings his wife to the same hotel bar as he brings his GF and I’m the idiot.”
“Never Ask A Nurse About…”
“Overheard lawyers discussing a Catholic cathedral child molestation case, but my favorite was a group of nurses though. Pouring waters as one says the sentence, ‘So a guy came in for an adult circumcision yesterday…’ Miss the rest of the story, return with drinks just as she’s saying, ‘Yea, so Grace pulls back the foreskin, yea, he ejaculates…’ Never ask a nurse about their day. It was worse than yours.”
He’s In Trouble
“We had a couple who would come in regularly and always asked to be seated in my coworker’s section. They were probably in their 60s and were always really affectionate and cute with each other. My coworker would joke around with them all the time. One day the man came in with a different woman than usual, and my coworker jokingly told him, ‘Oooh, you’re in trouble. I’m going to tell your wife you were here with another woman.’ Woman said ‘Excuse me? I am his wife. Who the heck has he been coming here with?’ Dead awkward silence while she death-glares at her extremely uncomfortable-looking husband. My coworker just turned around and walked away.”
“Heard a group of 3 women talking about how each of their 4th/5th/whatever many marriages are going and how they treat marrying for money as their career. One of them paid with their newest husband’s black AMEX card.”
“Middle aged couple on what seemed like an early-ish date. Hand them the machine to pay at the end. She takes it. The machine gives her the option to tap her card or insert it. She puts on a voice and looks at him: ‘Oh, wow. It’s asking me if I want to tap or insert. Should I… tap? Or… insert?’ He smiles, and I’m just standing there. I can’t even pretend not to be paying attention, I’m a foot away and was just talking to them. ‘I guess I’ll just tap. But I really would rather insert.’ She finally hands the machine back to me. It takes about 3 weeks to print out the receipt, and I leave with a ‘thanksforcominginhaveagreatnightyeahthanksbye.'”