Waiters and waitresses have to deal with rude customers all the time, but every once in awhile they serve someone who is apparently providing a free show with their meal. From shocking discoveries to downright hilarious situations, servers open up about the craziest people they've ever waited on.
That Makes No Sense
“You hear a lot of things and I try not to judge but the two that just stick out in my mind the most are: 1) The first (please note that’s the first) time a mother handed me her child’s bottle and asked me to fill it with Coke. 2) A table of three, mom and her two kids, about maybe 7 and 5. She’s ignoring me on her phone not paying attention to anything. Kids are super polite and I ask what they’d like to drink and the little girl says ‘can we have some water please in the fun cups!’ and the mother puts her phone down, snaps at that child and I swear almost grabs her and says ‘No, you’ll have a diet coke, get them a diet coke.’ ‘But mom we’re thirsty.’ ‘Shut it.’ Kids just wanted some water. I don’t understand people.”
Grandma For The Win.
“I was waiting on a table of a big family. Seven of them, three kids, mom and dad, and grandma and grandpa. Grandma was your typical OLD OLD OLD grandma. In a wheelchair with a blanket over her legs, looked like one of those apple dolls, spoke in a whisper.
She sees my tattoos, grabs me with her bony hand, and says ‘You know dear. I have a tattoo too’ and her husband says ‘Grace, leave her alone, she’s working.’
I’m curious, I’m nosy, so I say ‘Oh really, of what?’ Grandpa rolls his eyes and goes ‘Here we go.’
Grandma says ‘It’s a tiny little Mouse’ using the best of her ancient breath to get the words out. ‘Would you like to see it?’
Um, yeah I wanna see a 90-year-old’s tattoo!
She goes ‘It’s on my hip, hold on’ and pulls her blanket off and then starts trying to pull her skirt down. Her old lady flesh is totally exposed to the sun (we were on a patio) and I’m using menus to try to shield her, I was that worried it would just burst to flames or something. She keeps pulling at her clothes going ‘hmmm now where is it, where is it’ getting dangerously close to seeing old lady parts now.
Finally, she looks up at me and says, ‘Well, you know what, It’s gone! I bet my cat ate it.'”
“There was this group of four elderly women who would come into my family’s restaurant once a month. One month, one of them came by herself. I asked ‘Hi Edith! Where are all of your friends?’ ‘They all died.’ And she broke into tears. I felt like crap the rest of the night.”
“One day I was serving a couple. Halfway through the meal another guy came in and sat next to the dude who was already there. As it turns out both of these guys were this girl’s boyfriends. One lived out of state and was visiting the other lived a couple hours out of town. They had discovered each others existence via Twitter and decided to confront their mutual girlfriend together. She ended up crying a lot and leaving and then the two guys stayed and had some bro time.”
Didn’t See That Coming
“I waited tables/tended bar in the late ’80s (The Village Inn, Coconut Grove FL), after college. Two ladies sat down at a table in my section, I greeted them and got them water. A man showed up and instantly turned pale. Turns out it was his wife and his girlfriend and they had found about each other and set him up. He had his head in his hands the whole time. I didn’t hear a lot of what they were saying, but the pieces I did hear were unpleasant.”
Out Of The Blue
“People often don’t realize that when you’re sitting at the bar, the bartenders hear EVERYTHING. Sometimes I talk with guests but sometimes people have really intense and private conversations like less than a meter away from me. I’ll just keep my head down and rinse glasses and pour drinks and basically pretend I’m really busy.
Just yesterday there were two guys in their early 20s, talking about how their girlfriends were total brats who nagged and complained all the time. They drank a lot and at one point one guy said to the other: ‘You should just sleep at my place, you can’t drive like this.’ The other disagreed and they got in an argument and at one point the guy who suggested the sleepover just grabbed the other guys face and said: ‘Forget you’ and then they just started making out. Just out of the blue, sloppy and wasted, making out. It was weird and hilarious.
Then they left together, quietly and sort of awkward, but too wasted to really be aware of what just happened I think. Once they were outside they both lit up a smoke and quietly walked off into the night. I like to think that they finally realized they were meant for each other and I witnessed the beginning of this eternal love affair.”
Help A Brah Out
“Saint Patrick’s Day, working at a pretty busy bar in San Diego. Waiting on a table of fraternity guys from SDSU, no big deal. I take the order and notice something is seriously off with one of the guys – not like he is hammered but was pulling a face like OMG. The bar was crowded and noisy so his bros did not notice it but I walked up by him and was like ‘You ok brah?’
He looked at me pale as a ghost and said ‘I just pooped my pants – it is everywhere – it is in my shoes!’
Now as a man who has been there I felt I had to help out. I also worked security at this place so grabbed the attention of one of the big Tongan bouncers. Took the bouncer aside (and if you don’t know this Tongans are some of the most helpful people around) and told him the deal as I am starting to smell and see poop. Next thing I know the 3 big Tongan doorman come out of nowhere and muscle this guy out just saying the usual ‘Sorry guys but your friend has to go.’
They took him in the back and already had a clean pair of boxers and jeans for the guy and let him clean up in the staff bathroom and one of them actually gave him a ride home. I was busy and did not see him leave but got a cool note from their fraternity the next day and an ‘honorary’ sweatshirt and a gift certificate to Best Buy. He got to save face with the girls they were with and they were all regulars after that and tipped really well.”
Nothing To See Here
“I was a Waffle House waitress for four years in high school. I saw and heard so much stuff. I honestly got used to old truckers asking me if I wanted to make an ‘extra tip’ in the parking lot at the grand ol’ age of 16. But the one time I literally had to say ‘what the heck’ I didn’t even understand the conversation.
Two Latino couples were sharing a booth and seemed to be having a good time. I don’t speak Spanish but nothing in their tone made it seem unusual. Out of nowhere one of the husbands grabs his wife by the back of her hair, slams her face into the table, and just goes about his conversation. He didn’t even look at her. She wiped her face off and just went back to talking and listening. No one batted an eye at the table.
I delivered their food a few minutes later and all four of them seemed like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I’ve called out dozens of customers in my day (you can say whatever you want as a WF waitress, not exactly a classy joint) but I had NO idea how to respond to that scenario.”
You Got A Friend In Me
“I scoop ice cream and bring it out to customers. We have a regular who we all assume fought in Vietnam. He looks as if he fits in the age group and is always wearing camo pants and jacket. Not to mention he’s referenced ‘the war’ a few times. The whole point is, we can tell he’s not quite right in the head and we assume it’s because if his participation in Vietnam.
One day as I go to bring him his ice cream (this was his second time that day) I jokingly tell him ‘Twice in one day? I know our ice creams good but it can’t be that good right?’
And just out of nowhere, he replies ‘Well it helps keep the suicidal thoughts away.’ I then refunded his money and told him how much life was worth living. After that, whenever I see him, I make sure to talk to him for longer than a normal conversation would go. I hope he knows he’s got at least one friend.”
Getting Work Done
“Former waitress, here. I used to work at a sports bar/grill-type place that did a pretty good weekday lunch business. One day I was waiting on a group of guys at a round table having a work lunch – they were discussing business, sharing spreadsheets, etc.
At one point, I was walking up to the table to check on them, and the guy with his back towards me was fiddling with his BlackBerry, and as I get closer I see he’s watching some very graphic content. Keep in mind, this was long enough ago that internet on phones wasn’t nearly as common as it is now, so it was kind of crazy. Dude’s carrying on a conversation about financial strategies while watching smut in the middle of the restaurant.
I just got their refills and made sure to approach the table from a different angle when I came back.”
Being Extra Attentive
“I had a table of two parents and one little boy, aged maybe 9 or 10. The parents were older, in their 50s probably. The boy referred to the man as ‘father,’ and every time he spoke to his dad he began by addressing him. The kid seemed afraid of the man, and the man was constantly correcting the kid for anything and everything. He ordered a water for the kid but it sat untouched on the table corner the whole time. When I brought their complimentary bread, I put a plate in front of each of them. As I walked away, the kid reached for a piece of bread and the dad slapped his hand (rather hard) and said something along the lines of ‘don’t you dare’ and took the kid’s plate away. I assumed he didn’t want the kid to fill up on just bread. But when I was taking their order, I asked the kid what he’d like, and the father said “he already ate” while the kid just sat there, staring down. Sometime later, I was walking up behind the man to check on them, and I heard the man whisper ‘Well maybe next time you’ll think twice before you try to sneak away.’ His tone was terrifying, even to me as an adult. That’s when I realized what was going on. My theory is that this man is abusive and the kid tried to run away, got caught, and was being punished by not being allowed to eat. And apparently, they were rubbing it in his face by going to a restaurant. I reported it to my manager before they left. I got the man’s name from his credit card (I asked to see his ID as part of our new ‘theft protection policy’ to be sure it was really him) and wrote his license plate number. My manager’s husband works for CPS, and I later learned that the jerk was actually arrested a few days ago for roughing up a woman at a bar. She said he had a few warrants out too. As far as the issue with the kid, she just said it’s being handled. I don’t really know the process, or if CPS coordinates with law enforcement but she made it seem like this meant that the kid would be okay, although she didn’t directly say so. Either way, he’s in jail right now, awaiting trial.”
Never Know What Might Happen Next
“I had a couple that came in with their kid. It’s slow and we have time to take it slow, so I’m just relaxing there when I see the couple getting into an argument. It’s clear from the facial expressions that they are getting into a heated argument. Just as I’m about to come over with the bill (before it got even worse), she throws her drink at his face, throws the food on the ground, and leaves with the kid. He’s stranded at the restaurant since she took the car and awkwardly stays here for about an hour. We tried to make him comfortable but it was incredibly awkward.
After he left, the police came to our restaurant about three hours later asking if he ate here. Turns out, he was killed that night by a hit and run driver. I asked what happened, or if they thought it was her, and they told me it was confidential. But I don’t think it was her. But imagine how bad she must have felt. She basically told him to walk home and he never came home that night.”
Sting Like A Bee
“This was the most memorable interaction of my restaurant career. We got a call that Muhammad Ali and his family were coming in for dinner. My manager tells me he’ll be sitting in my section. I’m stoked. The former heavyweight champion of the world is going to be sitting in my restaurant!
Well, he shows up being pushed in a wheelchair. He spent the entire evening coloring in a coloring book with a big blue marker. He could hardly hold the pen. It was one of the saddest and most sobering things I’ve ever seen. To see someone who was such an incredible athlete and competitor be reduced to a shell of his former self was really sad. His family was really nice and was good to see they took good care of him.”
That Escalated Quickly
“At a table in Denny’s at 2 am a lady accused her brother of taking advantage of her daughter while I was taking their order. She threw hot coffee in his face while I was asking what kinds of sides they wanted with their Slams. He promptly picked up a steak knife and lunged across the table. I don’t remember how big he was but he was bigger than me and I’m 6’2”.
I grabbed him around the neck and he quickly stood up with me riding his back like father and son. I guess I put enough pressure on his neck that he finally went to ground. Everything calmed down after that but it made for an exciting evening.”
“I had a table of two older couples, likely in their early 60s. They were very polite and reserved (your typical old) until the drinks started flowing. After about their third or fourth round, I go to refill one of their waters and as I’m approaching the table from behind one of the women, she defensively says, ‘I may not be a scientist but I really know how to go down!’
One of the men saw me trying not to laugh and so he started laughing, which prompted the wasted woman to look up at me and explain, ‘Honey, if you learn anything about love, let it be that. A man will forget how dumb you are if you can do things that benefit him.’
I died laughing, thanked her for her advice, and they left me a really good cash tip in addition to the life lesson. Too bad I like girls, though.”
Why Does He Know About That?
“When I was in the front retail section of a certain country style chain restaurant, I saw a very young boy studying the toys and gifts while his mother was talking to the hostess. At the time we had a toy squid with a little propeller that was lazily drifting around the little display tank.
Once he saw it his eyes went wide and he yelled in shock, ‘THAT LOOKS JUST LIKE MOMMY’S TOY THAT MOVES!’ All of the color drained from her face as she ran over, grabbed his wrist, and fled the restaurant never to be seen again.”