Why do people think a busy restaurant is the best place to share their deepest and darkest secrets?
I'll never understand this habit, but there's no doubt it's true. All of these restaurant servers overheard some shockingly personal confessions, shared by diners who either didn't know their conversation was loud enough for their server to hear them, or simply didn't care. Save it for the car ride home, people!
(Content has been edited for clarity)
Can You Imagine A Harder Conversation?
“Once, I heard parts of a conversation between a young mother and her daughter, who was about 3 or 4, where the mom was explaining why the little girl was not allowed to see her or her sister for a while. It was obvious that the mother had lost custody somehow, and watching her try to explain this all in a way that the little girl could understand was heartbreaking.”
“This Isn’t Your Fault”
“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-year-old son.
They started the conversation before the appetizers even hit the table, were all crying by the time the entrees came, and still stayed for dessert. The little boy kept asking if he did anything wrong. One of the most uncomfortable moments of my life.”
What Happens In The Restaurant, Stays In The Restaurant
“I used to work at a nice bar in a really nice part of town, so I have a bunch of stories from there. I was propositioned for having a threesome with a woman and her husband who were definitely old enough to be my parents, more than once. Also, another table had two couples negotiating a swingers contract, where one spouse would switch with another spouse.
And another time, I overheard a couple discussing how much the man would pay the woman for their evening together. Which wasn’t surprising, as she was stunning and he was about 40 years older than her.”
“That’s Not My Husband”
“Well, I guess this was said directly to me, but, I’m coming back with a drink order for a couple. I notice that the man is gone and it’s only the woman at the table, and I’m assuming he went to the bathroom.
As I’m setting the drinks down, she sees something, turns bright red and shrieks, trying to hide her face. She just turns to me and says, ‘I know that woman who just walked in, and (she points toward the bathroom) that’s not my husband.’
Yes, she was on a date with another man, who had gone to the bathroom. Someone she knew, who also knew her husband, then entered the restaurant, and she knew the jig was up.”
He Lost His Appetite
“It was the last table of my last shift of my last day at this place. I wait on a table with a man and a woman, both pretty attractive and looking extremely happy to be out on a date together.
The meal goes smoothly. They ask for the check. I bring it. Upon returning to grab their credit card, I ask if they’d like me to box up their leftovers. He says sure. And just as I’m leaning in to grab her plate of pasta, she looks him dead in the eye while holding his hand and says, ‘I’m pregnant.’
I freeze a bit, then silently carry their plates back to the kitchen. I was so shocked that I went into auto-pilot mode and threw their leftovers away. The guy was NOT very hungry after that, though.”
Open Marriage Problems
“I was working breakfast fairly early at a downtown hotel in a big city.
The husband was clearly upset with his wife about something, and his wife was acting half-sheepish and half-annoyed. 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, 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 use the back door! Why did we even talk about rules if they don’t matter?’
This was over 10 years ago, and I had no idea what swinging was, but I instantly figured out that they were in some kind of open marriage, and she had ‘broken the rules.’ 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 the wife not following the rules for sleeping with another man.”
Are You Sure You Want This?
“I was at the bar, not waiting tables, but there were two tables right nearby. The first was a couple that sat down directly in front of where I was washing glasses. This was during the NBA finals so I thought it was a bit odd they seemed so sad while everyone else was enjoying the game. They spent at least four hours there and from what I was able to hear, they were discussing having another kid to fix their relationship. I guess she had cheated on him because she felt ’empty,’ but didn’t want to end their relationship as they already had kids together. The guy was clearly very upset but said he’d support her if this is what she wanted.
The other was last week during a huge fundraiser we hosted. A group of three or four ladies were noticeably uncomfortable. When I asked if they were okay, they told me that one of them had a stalker who constantly showed up at her house, work, etc. and calls her repeatedly. He had just shown up at the bar. She had threatened to call the police if he didn’t leave her alone, so what did he do? Naturally, he bought her a drink as an apology.”
He Just Got Bad News
“Late one night, I had this couple who were maybe in their late 30s. The guy looked a little rough and had a lot of tattoos; he was a tough-looking guy.
From the moment they came in, the woman was crying the whole time. Not just crying a little bit, but straight up bawling. She hadn’t talked to me the entire time, but the guy was very chatty. He explained to me how he had just found out that he only had a few months left to live and how she, his ‘angel,’ was gonna take care of his boy for him and all this stuff. Anyway, I felt pretty genuinely bad cause that’s a pretty messed up thing to hear.
Then I saw them come in again over a year and a half later, acting totally normal. They didn’t remember me, but how do you forget the face of someone that told you they were dying?
My theory is that he was abusing her, and was making up some cover story as to why she was crying that night. Either that or he miraculously survived without looking sickly at all, in which case, good for him.”
He Didn’t Care Who Saw Him
“I work in a fancy hotel restaurant, and one night I saw a guy on a date with his wife, who was in her mid-40’s. Nothing too exciting. I know it’s his wife because my boss told me the situation as soon as I sat them down. I’m fairly new here, so I’d never seen him before, but apparently, he’s a regular.
The next night, I see the same man with a younger girl in perhaps her mid-20’s. So I’m thinking that’s his daughter. She turned out to be his mistress, who is also his paralegal. He boasted the whole time about how all the wait staff and the hotel managers don’t dare say anything about his affair since he spends so much money there and brings in a lot of business with all the oil companies.
It’s the same routine every week. He goes in on Tuesdays with his wife and on Wednesdays with his mistress.”
He Could Have Timed That Better
“I’m not a server, but I overheard a pretty absurd confession. My Mom and I went to a restaurant in a town we were visiting, and we were seated close to a family just sitting down to dinner. As soon as they sat down, the waitress asked if they wanted a drink. Dad and Mom ordered drinks. The son just looks at the waitress, then blurts out to his parents, ‘I’m gay.’ The waitress leaves in a hurry.
The parents look at their son and then look at each other. Mom then asks Dad what he is thinking of having to eat. The son again exclaims, ‘I’m gay.’ The parents look at him deadpan and say in unison, ‘We know.’ Then the waitress came and took our orders, and I didn’t hear what happened next. But they stayed and enjoyed their meal and seemed to be fine with each other.”
She Heard Everything
“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 says I’m cute, but I have a flat chest. Also, in my defense, we had to wear these oversized unisex shirts that were not flattering. Anyways, 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.
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 Viet that yes I do. They didn’t say anything else and left.”
They Picked A Very Public Place To Have ‘The Talk’
“Well, when I was working at a high-end country club… There was a couple that was having ‘the talk.’
But it wasn’t just ‘the talk’ it was the, ‘I think I’m a woman… And I’m no longer attracted to you’ talk.
It was truly awkward to hear the wife cry. Especially after a while, when they were the last people in the restaurant.
I’ll never forget that night. When she first heard the confession, she screamed, ‘Oh my god, what do I tell my parents?! That you want to be a woman?!’
They did leave a nice tip, though. Hope they found love again and that they’re happy.”
He Just Kept Repeating The Same Thing Over And Over Again
“I worked at a diner chain restaurant in a low-income town for a long time. One time I had a young couple in my section. I was wolfing down some coffee (it’s like engine fuel for first-shift servers), so I missed them being seated, but when I noticed them I went over to say hello and get drink orders.
Immediately, it was obvious that 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, or backstab their best friend, or do something terrible like that? He was giving off that kind of vibe. Slimy, unpleasant. But the girl 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.
Eventually, he pays (‘Here man, just promise me you’re never gonna cheat, don’t throw stuff 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:
What A Supportive Guy
“I used to wait tables at a restaurant’s golf course, and this group of businessmen would always come and have drinks after their round. They ranged in age from 30-60. There would always be an elaborate song-and-dance about who would pay for the drinks, but it tended to be the one older guy who looked like the ‘alpha-male’ in this group, who had a better watch and better clubs than the others. He was always joshing around one particular younger guy, who I eventually figured out was his son-in-law.
This goes on for months and then one day, the son-in-law, who has never paid for a round, ends up being on the hook. He had insisted, ‘No, I should pay,’ and the others finally let him. He gulped, looked worried, and tried every card he had, but they were all refused.
He ran off to call his bank, and I heard the father-in-law mutter, ‘I told my daughter not to marry that loser.'”
Imagine If He Hadn’t Been There To Hear Them
“I had my back to two guys who’d just arrived and were about 3 drinks in. They start talking about a girl and what they’d do to her in the bedroom. Nothing I haven’t heard a thousand times before working in a bar.
I just chalk it up to them being jerks until one suggests giving her a pill 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. They were searched and sure as heck, they had pills on them.”
I Hope She Pressed Charges
“I’m not a waiter, but a barista. I once overheard two teenage girls, who were waiting on their drinks, talking about whether or not they think that charges would be pressed against them for beating up a girl at an all-ages club recently. Apparently they thought they wouldn’t, because ‘she deserved it.’
They Should Have Been Kicked Out, Or Arrested
“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 (temples), run by monks for the purpose of charity. A lot of the time, they also profit from very wealthy devout ‘Buddhists’ who come to cleanse their souls by paying big money and eating vegetarian food.
The parents were Buddhists, so they chose to be vegetarian, but the kid was forced into this lifestyle. I could see the pain in his face as he was forced to eat some tofu. He refused to eat, as you may have guessed. The father then slapped the kid with a slap so hard, fifty people in the room could hear the kid’s 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 scum, you better respect the Buddha, or you’ll eat from the floor again tonight!’
Yes, it turns out that some Buddhists think beating your child and feeding them food scraps on the ground is ok, but not becoming a vegetarian is unacceptable.”
She Watched A Marriage End
“I’m not a waiter, but my friend worked at Applebee’s for awhile and had this one couple she was waiting on. They both looked pretty down and were really quiet most of the time. After their meal was over, she was walking towards them to ask how they were doing when she overheard them agreeing that they really did need to finalize their divorce and there was no hope for reconciling.
She quickly turned away, not wanting to interrupt such a moment. When she came back a bit later, the wife was no longer there and the husband had his head on the table and was crying. He had finished his food and she had the check in her hand, but she felt so awkward trying to comfort him while also handing him the check.”
The Perfect First Date?
“This was actually just last night. I work at a semi-formal restaurant and two people in their early 30’s came in.
Neither of them seemed too excited to be with the other. I asked if tonight was a special occasion, and they said it was their first date. So they ordered some drinks and gnocchi.
These had to be the two must blunt people I’ve ever heard speak. The first thing I heard the woman ask was, ‘What do you do for a living? Does that make good money?’
The guy didn’t seem turned off at all. In fact, after answering, he asked, ‘My parents have been all over me to give them grandkids, do you think you’ll be able to give them any?’
The date continued and they talked about more and more uncomfortable stuff. And they seemed to really like each other. So at the end of the meal, I came over with the bill and asked, ‘So are we going to be seeing you two again?’
The guy said, ‘Possibly,’ and told me to split the check.
They leave holding hands. They literally broke every ‘first date rule,’ and apparently had a very efficient beginning to their relationship as a result.”
Sounds Like She Didn’t Enjoy Her Salad
“I waited tables at the Olive Garden 10 years ago. This was not really messed up as much as it was funny. A guy and his wife sat down at a table and immediately started arguing. It was 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 OLIVE GARDEN. Oh look, the highlight of my week, unlimited bagged salad. Maybe you could save up and we could go to Joe’s Crab Shack for our anniversary. Jerk.”
He Walked In On A Negotiation
“I worked at a high-end bistro during summers in college, and the rule was if even if we were closing at 11:00 and someone came in at 10:59, we served them. So this older, attractive man in his 60’s came in with a small but built guy in his 20’s. They sat at across from each other and just ordered drinks and dessert. This is pretty typical, so I thought nothing as I brought out their food. As they were my last table, I could leave after I had bussed their table and tipped out, so I started packing up the silverware and menus at the tables in my section and doing my other closing duties.
I was walking by their table and heard they were having a heated-yet-quiet argument, as if they didn’t want to make a scene. I heard snippets of, ‘No, $600 and you spend the night’ by the older male and ‘No, $800, I give you head, 1 round in the back door, and I leave when I’m done.’ I was mentally like, ‘OK!’ and let them negotiate alone.”