26 Servers Share the Amazing Things They’ve Overheard At Their Tables –
I am that person who automatically assumes everyone around me can hear my conversation when I’m out to eat – and based on these stories, I have good reason to think so.
1. No ifs, ands, or butts about it
I had a summer job at a seafood place around the Charleston area. I seat this couple who were pretty funny. Anyways, I bring them their drinks and ask if they’re ready to order. I can’t remember what the husband ordered, but the wife didn’t like it. So he looks at her and says “Woman, I’ll still eat that butt of yours when you eat chili, so don’t give me no crap for ordering what I want”. She immediately replied “Harvey, I just need you to shut the hell up”. Then they both started laughing. Best table ever. And they tipped me like $20.
2. Clearly a bad girl
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 hand.”
This was as I was standing there taking their order and writing with my left hand.
3. You read that right
My favorite was a group of nurses. Pouring waters as one says the sentence “So a guy came in for an adult circumcision yesterday…”
Never ask a nurse about their day. It was worse than yours.
4. Princess Mommy
I approached a table with a family of five to take their order. Two adults and three kids from about 5 to 10 or so. One of the kid starts to say something and the father cuts him off by saying “Don’t say another word Peter. Nobody says a thing until princess Mommy makes up her mind and decides what she wants for dinner.” Followed by long awkward silence and me leaving.
5. Clown, ’nuff said
Party of five or six, it’s a group of friends having dinner. In walks a clown. Clown starts randomly walking around the restaurant doing balloon animals for kids and stuff like that. I have no idea what is going on, we didn’t hire this guy.
He walks over to the table of 5 or 6 and selects a man from the table to perform a magic trick for. He did the trick, a small flash of smoke and fire happens and then magically there is an engagement ring on a rope. The man takes the ring and the woman gets on her knees and asks the man to marry her. The man says no, tells her to get up and they continue dinner. This table now has the attention of the entire restaurant (like 300-400 people on our busiest night). Everybody just turned away and started awkwardly eating like nothing happened.
6. I hope you would
Shucker at an oyster bar here. So other than all the obvious terrible jokes I get, I can say, without a doubt, the most messed up thing I’ve ever heard was a man sitting with a woman who was getting more and more distraught and the man looks at her and says “Look, I told you when this whole thing started if I had to choose between you or my wife I’m picking my wife”.
7. Billy Bob dreams
I waited tables for 10 years at this small family owned restaurant in rural Ohio that had a “famous” sandwich. It was on a few Food Network shows and stuff like that.
A family comes in. Mom, dad, two little kids. I take their drink orders and as I am getting the drinks, the dad pulls me aside.
Dad: “My son is obsessed with Billy Bob Thorton. We told him that Billy Bob comes here and eats from time to time, so could you just play along.”
Me: “Yeah of course, no problem.”
I return with the drinks and the son, who is about 5 years old, starts asking me questions about Billy Bob Thorton. Like what he orders, if he is nice, stuff like that. I make stuff up, because I want a good tip and don’t want to ruin this little kids life. He is so excited to hear that Billy Bob comes to the same place he is at.
I can only imagine other scenarios where Billy Bob Thorton has appeared in this kid’s life.
8. Double up
I was at the bar, not waiting tables, but I have two stories. 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 4 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 3 or 4 ladies were noticeably uncomfortable and when I asked if they were okay they told me that one of them had a stalker who constantly shows up at her house, work, and calls her repeatedly. He just showed up to 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.
9. Read the manual
When I was a waiter, people often pretended that I wasn’t there. The stories they told were amazingly personal. One woman at a table of 6 lunching ladies told the story of how her husband was recently prescribed viagra. “He took it like a vitamin – 1 pill every morning. He kept having erections at work and didn’t understand why.”
Late one night I had this couple who were maybe in their late 30s. The guy looked a tough guy.
From the moment they came in, the woman was crying the whole time. Not like, a little bit crying 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 crap. Anyway, I felt pretty genuinely bad cause that’s a pretty sad 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?
11. That’s cuz you can’t
Ex waiter. I’m walking down a long hallway carrying a tray of food. A kid comes running from a perpendicular hallway and run face first into the wall without putting his hands up. He starts crying. The dad walks behind him very calmly and kneels down and says, “Buddy, you just can’t go running into walls.”
12. Apples and spaghetti
I sat a table of three: a mom, her daughter, and her grandma.
After sitting, Grandma left to order spaghetti at the Italian place next door.
Mom seemed to be having an existential crisis. I asked her what she wanted to drink.
“I don’t know,” she said.
“Can I get you some water?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Do you want me to come back later?”
“I’m not sure.”
The daughter, who was getting impatient, stood up on her chair.
“Hey!” she said. “I’ll have you know. I want apples!”
“But first I have to get you something to drink. Would you like some water?”
“I want apples!”
Grandma ate Italian food in silence while Mom stared at a menu for an hour and a half and the daughter ate apples. When they finished, Mom paid, and they left. She tipped well, considering all they bought was $.50-worth of apple slices.
13. Nothing in life is free
“I heard if you complain here you get your meal for free”
I sidled by and politely told her that wasn’t the case.
14. A happy meal
My Mom and I went to a restaurant in a town we were visiting, and we were seated close by 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 wine and son looks at waitress and then blurts out to his parents “I’m gay.”
Waitress leaves. Parents look at their son and then look at each other. Mom then asks Dad what he is thinking of having to eat. Son again exclaims “I’m gay.” Parents look at him deadpan and say in unison, “we know”. Then 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.
15. Happily ever after
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.
16. Not the right kind of swing
I overheard a guy on a date, at the table next to ours, trying to impress the girl by saying that he loved swing dancing, and that maybe they should check out that “Swinging Richards” place sometime. Their waitress was in earshot and quickly explained to him that Swinging Richards was not that kind of dance club… (It’s of the male nudity variety).
17. Because why not
I was once helping a friend by washing dishes in her Cafe. I would often bus tables also.
It was a buffet.
A woman asked the guy she was with:
“Are you full?”
He said “Yeah, but wait while I make another plate.”
She said “Why”
He said “Because it’s a buffet”
When I bused their table he had left a plate full of meat, no veggies, no bread, no dessert, just a plate full of every meat on the buffet.
I overheard a customer talking about someone “coming and being so much fun”. I assumed she was pregnant because she seemed to be showing a bit. I decided mid way through the dinner to congratulate her on being pregnant. To my horror she said “I am not pregnant”. I felt horrible. I told my manager who comped their meals and I hid in the back for the rest of their dinner. Push comes to shove she refused to let the manager comp her meal and left me a $20 tip with a note that said “I was kidding I’m due in July.”
Not overheard but saw when I bussed tables in high school:
I watched someone change a poopy baby diaper directly on the vinyl booth seat, then leave the poop smeared wipes and poop filled diaper on a plate on the table!
21. Not well thought out…
Had a guy confess to banging his significant other’s sister when I brought their drinks to them. It was an anniversary. I guess he thought it would be the least likely place for her to cause a scene. She caused a scene.
22. All for the sake of dessert
I waited tables at a college town Ruby Tuesday. One not, we had a bunch of frat guys come in, all sitting at the same table. They ordered food and several beers. Everything started out fine, but after about 20 minutes, they were getting loud and dropping some f bombs and other things unnecessary in a family restaurant.
I could tell several of the other tables were slightly annoyed and a little uncomfortable, so I finally went over the frat guys and reminded them that this was a family restaurant and they were really going to have to tone it down.
One of the frat boys stood up, looked me straight in the face and sneered, “And if we don’t tone it down, what are you gonna do about it?”I was not prepared with an answer, but then I heard a voice behind me.
“I don’t know what he’s gonna do about it, but if you keep this up, I’m gonna come over there and kick all of your butts”
I turn around and there’s this giant man out to enjoy a quiet dinner with his wife. His wife now looks amused at the prospect of her husband wiping the floor with a couple of drunk frat guys.
Anyway, frat guys quickly collect their checks, pay and get out. I comped dessert for the couple and it was a great night after all.
23. Hush money
One time when delivering drinks to a guy and his wife who were sitting across the table from each other I accidentally caught a glimpse of the man’s phone. The content was very inappropriate. He knew he was caught. I kept my composure completely and didn’t skip a beat. At the end of the meal there was a $100 bill in the book in addition to the 20% credit tip.
I’ve waited tables at a mid to upscale level family owned restaurants part time for 9 years. Its located in a suburban area of a Midwest city so we have a mix of rural and urban folks.
One night, I waited on a couple that looked more like the young hip urban crowd. They looked at the wine list for a good five minutes and when I came back, she asks me “what do the numbers by the price per glass mean” I thought this was a joke so I replied “the price per bottle of course”. She stared at me for a moment, calmly closes the menu, and slaps her partner in the face with the menu screaming “WE’RE SO UNSOPHISTICATED!!! YOU NEED TO TAKE ME OUT MORE”.
I audibly laughed I just couldn’t help it. He however didn’t find it funny.
25. All my fault
I’ve been waiting tables for a little over a decade now, and I definitely have some:
-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.
-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. Overheard a couple discussing pricing for the evening.
26. Walk away
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 “ooooh, 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 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.