“It was 1997 or 1998. I was working in a horrible chain Italian restaurant in a city whose most prominent native son is a fictional crack 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 seven or so years old. On its own with no overheard conversation, this was legit creepy. But buckle your seat belts, friends, it’s about to get a 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, ‘Jon Benet ALWAYS took at least one bite of her dinner.’ For context, the Jon Benet 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 the heck still does that pageant nonsense 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 screamed. 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 Jon Benet 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 Jon Benet knocked over her drink?’
‘Oh no. No. You’re not implying,’ I said.
I often wonder what happened to that kid.”