Working in the restaurant industry is never easy, especially when servers get saddled with terrible, rude, cheap customers. The only thing that can help in a situation like that is when that mean customer gets exactly what they deserve, right in front of their eyes. The sooner the karmic justice, the more satisfying it was. We searched through Reddit for the best stories of instant karma striking right when it's needed and we were not disappointed.
Content has been edited for clarity.
Right Where He Needed To Be
“I worked late night at Denny’s. One night a group of frat-bros from one of the colleges near by comes in around 1 or 2am, the late-night rush. They are the WORST. They order food and leave, come back, switch seats, change orders, stand on the tables. They very obviously keep filling their cups from flasks they pulled out of their pockets. Of course they all want 12 separate checks, so I end up with $3.35 in tips and half the ‘bros’ are still there!
One of my regulars is a really sweet off-duty cop that comes in after his shift. When I go to check on him at one point his hands are flat on the table and his face is red. I ask him what’s up and he says through gritting teeth, ‘One of those little punks called me a pig under his breath when he walked by.’
I smile with sweet revenge, ‘I don’t know if this helps, but those kids are wasted and most of them are underage.’
The cop calls his precinct and quietly gets a sobriety checkpoint set up outside. SO MANY arrests, SO MANY angry parents picking up cars…”
“It Was The Best Day Of My Life”
“It was the best day of my life. I work in a small café, it was about 10:30 am on a weekday morning, nice and quiet. In comes this woman (must be about 58-62 ish), her husband and their grandchild. The wee boy was adorable and the grandmother was all over him. He sat beside her and she constantly talked to him, ignoring her husband.
Everything is fine, someone takes their order and then I go to take stuff over. The wee boy’s milk is ready first, just milk in a Styrofoam cup with a lid and straw. He must be 2 or 3 and that’s just what we do for kids that age. I take it over and she looks at me like I’ve put a turd on the table. She says she wanted it in a cup and I explain the only cups we have are coffee mugs, they’re heavy for a small child, and it’s easy to spill stuff out of them. She says she wants it anyway, so I go back to the bar area. When I go back up, another girl is taking over a latte and another coffee. The woman goes mental, ‘DO YOU NOT USE CUPS IN HERE?’ because she got a latte glass, so we bring that back too. Just as I’m about to take the milk in a mug back her sandwich is ready, so I take it over with the milk. She looks at the sandwich like it’s the last straw. ‘That’s not chicken, that’s revolting!’ I explain that, as it says on the menu, it’s chicken and parmesan mayonnaise. She shakes her head like I’m an idiot and just thrusts it back at me. I ignore her, don’t ask if she wants something else, I just walk away. Then I hear a yell and a crash.
The wee boy picked up the mug of milk, it must have been too heavy because he dropped it, soaking both himself and the grandmother and smashing the cup on the floor. Sure, we had to clean it up but my smugness was as close as I dared get to ‘I told you so.'”
The Whole Family Had To Pay
“I was working at a restaurant and there was this family who were extremely trashy and didn’t look like they had a lot of money despite ordering a bunch of expensive steaks and drinks. They were rude the whole time, treating me like I was their butler or slave. Then they asked for a manager to tell the manager that their steaks tasted rotten (after they finished) and their drinks didn’t taste strong enough (again, finished). Basically just trying to get free food. My manager noticed the way they were treating me and knew they were full of it and refused to comp their meal like they were demanding. They began yelling and cussing at him and me, then ended up trying to leave without paying…only to have their car not start in the parking lot.
My manager called the police and one of them got arrested for disorderly conduct and possession. The rest ended up walking after having their car towed.”
Her Daughter Was Totally Humiliated
“I worked at a sushi bar for a few years. They do a half price sushi hour most weekdays for dine in customers. It’s a good deal, especially for how high quality the food is.
It was an especially busy day. People waiting, etc. This woman and her daughter come in and stress that they are in a hurry (‘My daughter has cheerleading’) but want the half price. Uh, good luck? Full house…but whatever. Customers = money, yo. So, the lady gets angry when her food takes longer than 15 minutes. She asks if she can get her food to go, which I then explained that the food would then be full priced. We get into an ‘argument’ (she’s getting angry and beginning to yell at me in front of her embarrassed daughter while I’m meekly standing there, unsure of what to do. ‘WELL I ORDERED DINE IN’ ….you are asking for to-go. (IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU WERE SITTING AT A TABLE WHILE ASKING).
She’s getting louder and more annoying and I’m starting to panic (my anxiety was really bad at the time) when suddenly, my boss chimes in.
And by chimes in, I mean she started ripping this woman a new one. You see, my old boss just happened to be working behind the sushi bar that summer. She told the woman to stop yelling at me and that if she wanted her half price sushi, she would have to sit and wait like everyone else. Boss apologized to the other customers and made sure I was okay.
Lady was shocked and now super embarrassed since the entire restaurant was now judging her. She quietly sat and waited for her sushi. The daughter apologized to me and that table ended up leaving a good tip.”
She Was The Total Opposite Of Her Sweet Husband
“I worked at a franchise of a chain of 24-hour restaurants that is notorious for cheap breakfasts and bad service. Big yellow sign with red letters.
In all honesty, if I could find a server job that offered good insurance and steady tips, I would consider going back to it. I really, truly loved waiting tables and making people’s lives a little more pleasant, at least while they were in my section. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.
I had several ‘regulars’ that always sat in my section, but there were other servers that had their regulars as well. One of them was a really pleasant, jovial man… and his horrible, nasty wife. She was the kind of woman who got off on being cruel and making other people’s lives miserable. One particular day, I had to cover some tables in a different server’s section because they called in sick. I was warned about this couple when they came in, but had never waited on them before so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I was told that she had a habit of complaining endlessly about everything, demanding to speak to the manager every time they came in and berated the servers and cooks at every turn. The husband (who often came in by himself) was the opposite – friendly, good-natured, well-liked.
As soon as they were seated, before I could even get their drink orders, the husband got up from the booth and walked outside for a few minutes, leaving me alone with the wife. I put on my best smiley, cheerful face and greeted her. She refused to make eye contact with me and instead scowled and snarled, ‘You would think that with as much money as we spend here, you people would know what we like to drink! Why do we have to keep going through this? I want ICED TEA, NO LEMON!!’ She didn’t tell me what the husband wanted, and I didn’t ask… I was just so taken aback by the anger straight out of the gate that I just turned on my heels and walked away.
I poured her an iced tea – NO LEMON!! – and brought it back to her. Before I could even set it down, she snapped, ‘I already know what I want to eat, and we’re in a HURRY.’ Bear in mind that the husband is still outside. I took her order, still trying to be pleasant, and before I could walk away she snarled, ‘And the last time you people brought the food out, it was COLD!! I do NOT want cold food! And I want EXTRA CHEESE on my scrambled eggs!! and SALSA!!’ Her voice seemed to drip with more and more anger with every word she spat out.
As I was ringing up the order, I thought of a thousand things I wanted to do, then an idea hit me… instead of getting back at her, I was going to not only go out of my way to make her meal as perfect and delicious as possible, but I was going to embarrass her as well.
I made sure everything was perfect… piping hot, lots and lots of cheese on the eggs, fresh salsa warmed up to room temperature. By the time the meal was ready, the husband had returned to the table and was happily chatting with one of the servers. I mustered up my best scared/sad face as I brought out the food to her. As I sat it down, I started to tear up, just a little, and expressed in gushing, flowery terms how sorry I was for how badly she was treated the last time she was here, and how hard I worked to make sure the food was absolutely, 100% according to her specifications, and that I felt SO BAD for how she was treated the last time she was here, that I was going to pay for her meal out of my tips and how I hoped that she would be willing to accept my apology on behalf of the whole restaurant for her miserable experience. I really laid it on as thickly and sweetly as I could.
Her husband, who was happy and smiling and cheerful just seconds ago, stared her down with a sick, horrid look, his face turning bright red. She was MORTIFIED, her face turning equally red… she hung her head and said, ‘Ummm…. okay…’ I asked her if everything was to her satisfaction this time, and if it wasn’t, I would rectify it immediately. She stared at her plate, pushed it around a bit, and said, ‘Ummmm… yeah…’
The husband is staring her down, clenching his jaw. He politely ordered his meal and as I was walking away, I heard him hiss at her, ‘What did you say to her? What did you DO?!’
She was silent and sulking for the rest of the meal, and he was polite but not overly chatty. When they were finished, she stormed out before he even left the table, head hung. He apologized profusely to me for how she had acted and left a generous tip on top of paying the tab. To the best of my recollection, she never acted like a witch to any of us ever again.”
Her Insults Resulted In Instant Karma
“Lady comes into the bar and after I tell her we aren’t serving food, she makes a face at me, but still sits down at a table. She orders a drink, then sees the cook is still there (in the back, cleaning up the kitchen after the night is over).
She walks up to the bar, says, ‘Excuse me, you’re being unprofessional, I see someone in the kitchen, you lied to me, you can have him make me some food. You need to be re-trained on your job.’
I smile politely, and say, ‘I’m sorry, the kitchen is closed for the night, the cook does need to go home tonight, because we aren’t open all night.’
She then says, ‘No wonder you don’t have a real job,’ and storms back to her table, finished her drink, and leaves. Of course, she leaves me no tip – shocker. As soon as she’s out of earshot, all the people at the bar verbally attack her and commend me on keeping my cool, which felt great on its own.
But the best part? We’re in an airport and she left her bags behind. The official protocol which I HAD to follow even though hers was the only and last flight out? Calling the police, having them take her bags to another terminal for inspection, meaning there’s no way she had them for her flight.
It was like a movie scene where the bad guy destroyed himself, I was so happy.”
Serves Her Right
“So I work at a restaurant and this one table was complaining through two courses and dessert about how long the food was taking to get to the table, all totally unfounded. They both ordered medium well and well done filets, which take a good 25 minutes to cook. So dessert comes around and they order the campfire s’mores, our most popular dessert. It’s melted chocolate with homemade marshmallows and homemade graham crackers that’s served with smoldering hickory wood chips for the campfire ambiance. The marshmallows take about 10-12 minutes to melt in the oven. This woman at the table sends the manager back into the kitchen after 5 minutes asking where their desserts are.
So the desserts finally get to the table and they immediately ask for the manager again. I was in the kitchen when the manager came back in with a ear to ear grin on her face. I asked what the fuss was about. ‘She ate the campfire!’ The lady ate the wood chips, which were both visibly glowing and smoking like crazy. The woman acted like it was all our fault. I’ve never laughed so hard at work before, it was awesome.”
No One Should Speak To Their Child Like That
“Once I saw a woman being really terrible to her kids. They were maybe 6 and 9 but she was swearing at them (things I have never heard said to an adult) and calling them names. They were both crying hysterically and just trying to eat their pizza.
The only other table in the place was a trio of construction workers sitting behind them. I had asked the woman several times to calm down but she would just say she wasn’t hurting anyone and basically to butt out. She swore at me and threw a piece of chicken at me as I walked away. I called my manager up but he didn’t like to remove customers so he wanted to wait and see if this continued.
Then she smacked one of the little girls on the back of the head. Before my manager or I could react, one of the construction workers walked over. He asked the mom to join him at the bar. I think she thought he was hitting on her cause she was all smiles and flirty. As soon as she was away from the kids, he told her:
‘If I see you lay a finger on those kids again, I will do the same thing to you but 10 times worse. Have a nice evening.’
She immediately left and they followed her to the door. I can only hope she learned something.”
Their Request Was Totally Unacceptable
“It was a group of middle aged guys. They’re regulars, but they’re super annoying, and they always ask for ‘the hottest server.’ As a host, I usually just sit them with whoever. The last time they came in, I sat them with Dee, a really sweet black girl who’s one of our best servers. They were FURIOUS. They never said anything to me or a manager, but they claimed everything was wrong. The food was too cold. The drinks were flat. She was way too slow. She was rude. They left a 25¢ tip and left not long after.
This time, they specified they wanted a hot WHITE server. I said, ‘Okay!’ and with a smile, I walked them over to their table. I specifically sat them with the only male server, a tall, black, bodybuilder who towered over all of them. He’s a really cool guy, but he can be slightly intimidating to people that don’t know him just due to his stature.
They never said a word.”
Divorce Celebration Cut Short
“A group of guys came into my restaurant who were ‘celebrating’ this rather rotund man’s divorce. Needless to say, any pretty server in the building was about to have an uncomfortable visit.
I kept an eye on their table, but I can’t just stand and stare because it becomes obvious I’m supervising them and not my staff. So I ran to the kitchen to check up on the cooks. I was gone maybe fifteen seconds when a server comes to get me to cut the recent divorcé off because he just grabbed one of the girl’s butts. Not cool dude.
I go out to the table to take them their checks and ask them to leave. I tell the table I had a complaint from one of the staff, and said there would be no more drinks served to them, and that they needed to pay their tabs and leave.
Now, I’m not a small guy, but the six of them could easily cause more than a ruckus. Once their glazed eyes realize what’s happening and that they weren’t at an adult club, the divorcé shouts, ‘Oh yeah? And what are you gonna do if we don’t?’ He starts to stand up, but is a bit too husky for his gut to clear the lip of the table, and he spills two full pitchers and six almost empty glasses all over himself and his friends, then he slips back into his chair with a thud.
I didn’t have to say another word. His one friend threw down $100, apologized, and dragged his soaking friend shamefully out the side door.”
“Too Bad Our Restaurant Didn’t Serve Crow”
“I was a server during college at an upper scale restaurant. I rarely had problems with customers and am overall genuinely friendly. I had a table for 4 with only 3 patrons there, an older couple with their adult daughter. I served them beverages and was told we were to wait for patron #4, the son.
About 40 minutes and 2 refills go by. I say, ‘I bet you guys are starving by now, would you like me to bring you our lettuce wraps? They are small enough to not ruin your appetite. Or are we still waiting for my buddy?’
Father said, ‘We are going to wait, and he isn’t your buddy. Frankly, you don’t know him. He’s a hard working man and will be respected.’
‘You’re right sir, forgive me.’
‘He actually has a real job.’
‘I understand sir, it won’t happen again.’
When I came back for refill number 3, the son was arriving. The son happened to be an old high school friend; before taking his seat, he gave me a hug right in front of his dad.
I looked at the father and said, ‘Small world, huh? I can’t believe you’re my old buddy Nick’s family. I’m surprised we’ve never met before with Nick and I spending so much time together in high school.’
It’s too bad our restaurant didn’t serve crow.”
They Left A Little Something Behind
“I am a bartender/server in a popular corporate bar and restaurant. I deal with a lot, but this was a particularly uncomfortable experience. This loser guy and his trashy girlfriend were rude the entire time – initially, they wouldn’t make eye contact and interrupted my greeting by ordering two drinks. They took up my table for two hours, ordered a ton of food, drinks and dessert, all the while treating me like garbage (eye rolling, scoffing, generally being aggressive, sent back an appetizer etc..). I dropped off their check hoping they’d just leave as soon as possible. I honestly didn’t care if they tipped and I certainly didn’t expect them to. They waited until I bussed another table and went back to the kitchen before they wrote ‘bad service’ and drew a lewd pic on their check. Then they walked out without paying. I discovered this about 3 minutes after they exited the building. By this time, it was 20 minutes to closing. I had no other tables and, to my absolute pleasure, that idiot left his keys and cell phone in the booth. I grabbed my manager and we sat in the booth behind the one they’d just left, knowing they’d either call or have to come back in very shortly. Sure enough, they called, manager answered and politely and enthusiastically told them to come right in. And when they did, I sat there holding the keys and cell phone with a huge smile on my face, while my manager demanded payment for their $129 tab… idiots.”
“I’m Just The Hostess!”
“I used to work in a restaurant as a hostess. Part of my duties included clearing tables, running plates when ready if the server was busy (and taking them away for the same reason), and taking the take out orders.
One day this lady asked me if she could add something to her order, and I told her I’d happily grab her server. She kept pestering me despite me explaining I cannot add it for her. She called me a liar because she saw me give someone a bag of food so ‘obviously I could too but I’m just being lazy.’ I tried to explain to her what my job actually entailed but she wasn’t having any of it. After a couple minutes of this banter, the server came and told her the same thing I did while trying to ask the customer what she would like added.
At this point, the customer no longer wanted to add anything, she was just losing her mind. A couple of gentleman a few tables down were looking over, very intrigued. The server then tried to excuse herself to check their meals and her other customers and the customer went PSYCHO. She started screaming at the server to come back and ‘service her’ and took her glass of water and smashed it on the ground in a fit of rage.
The two men a few tables down? Off-duty officers out for lunch before their shifts. That lady was rushed out immediately (after having to pay for the glass and her meal which was packed to go). Apparently they gave the server a very generous tip, too!”
Suddenly, Things Got Personal
“I was working in a pub the day the Thailand tsunami hit, and we had a bucket behind the till to raise some money towards the relief. Massive twit regular tries to impress his friends by tipping me a drink, for which I thank him, but suggest he instead puts the tip in the bucket to help with the unfolding tragedy. He loses it, calls me all sorts of names and says, ‘Why the eff should we help people in other countries anyway?!’ 30 minutes later, his phone rang and he discovered a close friend had been in the area of one of the beaches, and the outlook became more grim as the day went on. Suddenly he seemed quite keen to add tips with each round. I felt a bit sorry for him but he was a massive twit.”