Paying the bill at a restaurant is a foreign concept to many people. Customers have walked out me on many occasions... (POOF!)... they disappear in a cloud of smoke, leaving me with an unpaid bill, and without a gratuity. SHOCKER! Oh wait, I forgot, I'm supposed to use your fingerprint that you left on the glass you drank from to get payment from your bank account. Either that, or these people are Amish and they are going to get a goat or some chickens for payment.
One of my favorite walk-outs happened one night when we were moderately busy in the restaurant. I was the closer, (meaning I was the last server on for the night,) and a half hour before we closed, I get sat with a 3 top. (Three people.)
I approach the table to greet the one man who told me he was waiting for his two brothers. He was wearing a "Tap Out" hat and T-shirt, and he had a thick Brooklyn accent. I knew I was in for a good time.
"I'm a boxer. I have 24 wins, and six losses." He said to start our conversation. Most people usually introduce themselves with their names first, he gives his fight record. Why not?
"I'm a server." I replied. "How about I start you with something to drink while you wait?"
"I'm Anthony. I'm waiting for my two brothers. They're MMA fighters." Obviously, there's a lot of pride in his family. "I'm going to be in an MMA fight if my doctor approves it. I've already had two MMA fights and lost." Is it me, or is there an immediate red flag when anybody needs their doctor to approve anything? "I'll have a Long Island." He finally ordered.
I bring him his Long Island Ice Tea, then the conversation definitely took a turn for the worse. It was already weird you say? I agree, but Anthony had much more to say about his fighting career, and about his love for my name.
"The doctor said he's not going to approve me for anymore fights after this one coming up." WTF? Obviously he hasn't seen "Rocky 5." "Friggin doc! I have a growth on my brain. It's from getting hit in the head a lot." Anthony tried to explain.
"I can hardly tell."
"You're funny! What's your name?" Anthony asked.
"JOEY !!!" He exclaimed. "Are you from the East Coast too?"
"I actually am from Southern California. I'm a minority." I hesitated to tell him.
"Wait 'til my brothers Bobby and Vinny find out you're name is Joey. JO-EYYYY!" My name now had become his mantra.
I left Anthony to nurse his Long Island. While I was attending to my other tables, I heard from across the restaurant, "YO! JO-EEEEEYYYY!" I turned towards the sound, and sure enough, it was Anthony. Now it was getting even worse because my co-workers felt the need to give me a hard time. "What's up with your friend?" They jabbed.
I cautiously approached Anthony. "You rang?" A la Lurch.
"I was just practicing." He added as he finished the rest of his drink. Practicing for what? In case he forgot my name? "I'm hungry Joey."
"Why don't you order something while you wait for your brothers."
"Give me a Caesar. But I want chicken. Something with both."
"How about a Chicken Caesar?"
"That's it! And another Long Island." He muttered. "I'll be back. I need to get my brothers."
Then Anthony left. I brought him his drink. His Chicken Caesar was delivered. Time passed. The ice in his drink diluted the Long Island. The chicken and the lettuce cooled and warmed to the same temperature, and still no Anthony.
I told my manager. We asked the front desk staff if he was a hotel guest. "No. But we saw him wandering around the front of the hotel for awhile, and then he left."
Just like that, (POOF!), I had been bamboozled by Anthony, the fighter with a growth on his brain.
Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.
"Bitter. Party of one? Your table is ready."
The Bitter Bistro