*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*
When you work in restaurants, you see the full spectrum of human behavior - that’s one of the most wonderful, and sometimes also the worst, thing about being a waitress. When showing up for a shift, you know first of all that your day’s happiness quotient is going to go according to your bosses mood and whims. You can’t control that, but you can at least mentally prepare for the possibility of it. With customers, you just never know what you are going to get.
That’s why I always appreciated the good, regular customers at the busy family restaurant where I worked for years. Whether you liked them or not, you could pretty much expect how they would be have, treat you, and tip you. For the most part, you could count on the fact that they wouldn’t bust out and do something weird, either.
One day an odd looking pair came into the restaurant. A large man with graying hair, probably in his sixties, with a young blond bombshell of a woman who was probably in her twenties. We noticed right away that she had a Russian accent and some of the staff joked that perhaps she was a mail order bride. I wondered whether the man might have been her father, but at one point when she slid into the booth next to him, the way she put her arm around him told me otherwise. They were definitely a couple.
Perhaps because of their obvious, huge age difference and contrast in the attractiveness department, we at the restaurant had a good time studying their habits when they came in to eat.
It wasn’t long before we noticed the young woman was doing something very strange.
The couple always insisted on sitting in the same booth by one of the front windows, with one of the booths abutting the back of a server station where we kept things like extra silverware, ketchup bottles, napkins, creamers, and things like that. One day I looked over at them and watched the woman reach back behind her to the server station, pick up two full, new bottles of ketchup, and put them in her purse.
I alerted my manager that she was blatantly stealing from us, but he said something about how they gave the restaurant a lot of business and acted like he didn’t believe me. A few days later, the same couple came in and I watched as she dumped an entire basket of non-dairy creamers into her purse, then shoved the basket in there as well. Next time it was one of the glass sugar shakers. The woman had no shame. Still, though, my manager didn’t want to listen to any of us servers and do anything about it.
Finally one day when they came in I watched them like a hawk and when I saw the woman get ready to make her move on the server station, I grabbed my manager’s attention and made him watch.
This time she actually got out of the booth, went around the server station, and took a handful of pre-rolled silverware in napkins and another ketchup bottle before she sat back down and shoved them into her purse.
“See?” I told my manager.
Now that he’d seen it for himself, he went over to the table and confronted her.
“My servers have been telling me you’ve been stealing from us for months and now I’ve seen you. Please pay your bill and leave,” he said, laying their check down on the table before starting to walk away. One might think the couple would pay and leave quietly, but no. This woman got up and started screaming at my boss in Russian, which was funny because I’d waited on them dozens of times and knew she spoke perfect English.
My manager turned back to them and said, “Please pay now or I’ll call he police and they’ll have you pay.”
The man promptly set out his credit card which I took and ran through the register for the last time. They never came back.
How would you have reacted if you were their server?
Hi, I hope you enjoyed this story! I am a freelance writing single mom trying to create a better life for me and my daughter through words. If you enjoyed this, please consider leaving a small donation: https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan