Bride & Groom

The phone rings.

“The Bistro,” I answer, “How may I help you?”

“Hello, Waiter?” a familiar voice says.

“Yes?”

“This is Rafael, the Maitre’D at Cafe Really Expensive.”

“Hey Rafael,” I reply, “How’s things?”

“Slow.”

“I hear ya.”

“Listen,” Rafael says, “You’ve got a reservation for Wilson at seven, right?”

I look at the reservation list. “Yep, table for two. Got ‘em right here.”

“The guy’s a waiter at my place,” Rafael says. “He got married at City Hall a few hours ago.”

“Ah, love,” I chuckle.

Rafael laughs heartily. He’s been married a couple of times.

“Yeah, I want to buy them a bottle of champagne.”

“No problem.”

“Whatcha got?”

I open the wine list and rattle off the choices. Rafael picks a really nice bottle.

“You want me to send the bill to Café Really Expensive?” I ask.

“That’d be great.”

“Ok, Rafael,” I say, “You’re all set.”

“Thanks Waiter.”

“My pleasure Rafael.”

“Bye.”

I look at my watch. The bride and groom will be here in two hours. I go to the walk in and confirm we have cold bottles of Rafael’s selection. We do.

I reserve the romantic table by the window. I repolish the silverware and steam clean two champagne glasses. Satisfied the table’s set right I go back to the hostess stand and review the night’s floor plan. We’re gonna be busy.

The door chimes. A florist arrives with a box of roses.

“Someone got married today,” the deliveryman says.

I look at the card. The flowers are from the waitstaff at Café Really Expensive.

“I’ll make sure they get them,” I say.

I reach into my pocket and tip the flower guy a couple of bucks. They’re not my roses but they’re for a comrade in arms. It’s the least I can do.

“Thanks,” the deliveryman says. I go downstairs and put the flowers in the fridge. It’d suck if they wilted.

The first customers trickle in. Of course, they want to sit at the table reserved for the Just Married’s.

“Why can’t I have that table?” Yuppie Chick protests.

“It’s reserved Madam.”

“For who?”

“A couple that just got married.”

Blessedly, that’s all it takes to shut Yuppie Chick up.

Seven o’clock comes. The Just Married’s arrive. I seat them. The flowers are already on the table. The bride coos delightedly. She’s all smiles. The groom looks a little stupefied.

I bring over the bottle of champagne. The groom’s eyes widen when he sees the label.

“Compliments of Rafael,” I say.

“Oh wow!” the Groom says, “Bollinger Grande Année!”

“Oh Rafael didn’t have to do that,” the Bride says.

I remove the foil, unfasten the wire restraint, and gently pull out the cork with a small pop.

“Congratulations on getting married,” I say, pouring out the bubbly. “And many years of happiness and health.”

“Thank you,” Bride says, blushing slightly.

I flash her a smile, put the Bollinger on ice, and walk away. I want to give these two plenty of space. There’s no rush. It’s their first dinner as man and wife. They’ll remember it for the rest of their lives. It’s an almost sacramental moment.

But, as is often the case, the holy can never escape the profane. The Bistro fills up. Within minutes I’m running around, fetching martinis and negotiating Atkins’ requests for a roomful of demanding Yuppies. I keep a close eye on the Just Married’s. They’re my priority. Eventually the groom signals for me.

“They’re keeping you busy tonight,” he whispers sympathetically.

“Nothing I can’t handle sir,” I reply.

“I’m sure.”

I tell the newlyweds the specials. They nod politely. After a few questions they place their order. No muss no fuss. I wish my other customers were as easy. It’s a crazy night. But, amidst all chaos, the newlyweds are an oasis of bliss.

The evening rush comes and then it goes. Yuppies in. Yuppies out. Soon the restaurant’s empty.

The Just Married’s are the last table. They’re sitting side by side, holding on to one another and not saying a thing. I leave them alone.

I finish my sidework, tip out the bus people, and send everybody home. I look over at the newlyweds. Not ready yet. I grab a paper and start reading. I might be here a while.

The clock ticks. An hour passes. Normally I’d be pissed. But, tonight, for some reason, I don’t mind. I read my paper.

The groom finally signals for the check. He pays and leaves a nice tip.

“Thanks for making tonight special for us,” Bride says.

“My pleasure Mrs. Wilson,” I reply.

“Good night Waiter,” Groom says.

“Good night sir,” I say. “And congratulations.”

I watch the couple walk down the street. They hail a taxi and head off towards the rest of their life.

That couple was the most important part of my day. I don’t know why. I just know.

I turn off the lights and go home.


Comments

Bride & Groom — 42 Comments

  1. not funny at all i was hoping for funny, in other words GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY

  2. Thank you so much for this story. Its those few wonderful moments when you see a genuine bit of humanity that makes you appreciate being a waiter. Sometimes you’ll have a whole week where its nothing but “Yuppies in, yuppies out.” Those times when you get to interact with real, vibrant people are times to be cherished.

    Thank you.

  3. Haha…

    The reason that stories like this are on StumbleUpon is because different people like different things.

    Thumbs Up!

  4. Really good story. Been following you since I “stumbled you”. So that gives me every right to say to the thumbs down guy, “Change your fucking interests then.”

  5. great story, waiter. sorry your comments disappeared with the site switch. i think our desire to do well by someone else is a result of our own wishes for people to treat us well. it’s too bad more people don’t keep that in mind through the run of things.

  6. I am glad there are still people out there who can appreciate real love, ESPECIALLY in jobs which I know can be tough and rather thankless. (I mean, just look at some of these comments, I guess be glad you probably don’t know contestant #1 in real life. *scowl*) I think what you did was amazing. That couple will remember that day for a long time coming and the fact that you, a total stranger, took such good care of them even when things were busy will leave a lasting impression. I for one know that were I the bride in this story, this would be one real life romance story I would tell my children and grandchildren (and of course all of my jealous friends!) Kudos.

  7. Sure sucks that all these people were forced at gunpoint to read these stories — hey asshats, if you don’t like it, then how about going elsewhere? You’re as bad as the customers he describes.

  8. The GAY guy using that particular term to complain about how nicely a newly married heterosexual couple was treated is hi-larious!

  9. A really lovely story. From the colleagues’ flowers, to the maitre d’s Champagne, to your epic patience. It’s nice to see true love still counts for something.

  10. I am reading your book and catching up on all of the blog posts at the same time. I have to say that this story came at the prefect time for me. I just had a big blowup with my wife of just 2 shourt years. This posting helped to remind me whay I got married in the first place.

    About every 20th posting you make makes me get tears in my eyes. thanks for sharing your gift! :)

  11. That’s a beautiful story, thank you for sharing it, you’re a credit to what must be a difficult and under-appreciated job

    oh, and Merry Christmas ^_^

  12. I agree with comment #1

    GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY

  13. Its a shame for #1 and #22 that they’re such trolls, cos nobody loves a troll, do they? Maybe they’ll be more appreciative once they’re out of pre-school.

    Great writing as ever waiter, keep it up.

  14. I like stories like this. I come across this website a lot and still have to go get the book! I work at a grocery store and once worked at a cafe’ and I can totally relate. Sometimes sweet stories need to break up all the funny/angry ones.

    (And for the ones who post they don’t like it or think it’s “gay”, I have no clue why they even bother posting because it isn’t appreciated.)

  15. They post in hopes that someone will pay attention to them, because their life involes having a wank to child porn and drinking themselves to sleep, crying.
    Ignore them, nobody cares about them, and nobody ever will.

  16. this is probably the worst piece of crap i have ever read! all along i thought there was going to be some funny punch line…id really like to punch whoever gave this a stumble thumbs up

  17. Yeah, the stories are sort of told in a way that imply a joke at the end.

    Finding there’s no joke is so anticlimactic it comes to be fantastic.

    Great story; you write very well.

  18. Real life is not always a joke with a punchline. Sometimes it’s just bad all the way through a story, and sometimes (like this story) it’s just sweet all the way through. If you require a punchline go read a joke site. If you want well written stories and thoughts of all sorts, read this blog. Well done as always.

  19. This was so nice. I really like your dedication, and I’m sure they will appreciate that night as well.

    To be honest, I thought this was going to be something funny the way the beginning was, but I like it a lot either way!

  20. Why do so many people feel ‘internet story’ has to equate to ‘funny/catastrophe’ ending?! Shame you can’t get attention span extentions online…

    I think this is probably well-stumbled simply because it’s well-written. Smooth, pro, and well-paced – just like a good waiter should be!

    Thumbs up²

  21. Its people like the couple in this post that make puting up with people like #1 and #22 worth it.
    We don’t do what we do for douches like that we do it for those times when we can really make someone’s night special.

  22. Eh, I thought it was pretty cool. I was prepared to thumbs-down because I, perhaps for one, don’t like the smart-ass rude stories (except for when it’s truly deserved). This was a nice departure. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Aww… the way you treated the newlyweds was very nice. Like you said, they will probably remember the night for the rest of their lives.

    I’m so glad this turned out to be a happy ending. Throughout the story I was thinking “Oh no, someone is going to get in an accident or be confronted by an ex” but it never happened. It’s nice to be reminded of the wonders of life ever once in a while.

  24. I am 100% astonished at the amount of negative feedback to a 100% sincerely written and not at all cloying, appreciative observation you took the time to share. This entry is a perfect example of the importance of humanity in the service industry.
    It is the one facet of our profession which, if you take the time to cultivate, is all you need to glean something extra out of any otherwise mundane/harrowing/nightmare shift. Out of 13 years in the business, were there a few years of self-absorptive job pathos resulting in near-absolute bitterness and cynicism every shift i worked? YES. Are there still moments? DUH.
    And while i’m sure part of it is simple growing up on my part, the daily conscious effort i make to excavate at Least one worthwhile nugget from any situation, is my recipe for replenishment. Especially at work, when what could easily stockpile into thousands of wasted hours feeling pissy, resentful & exhausted, instead becomes laced with moments of good conversations, interesting people, and glimpses into beautiful moments of humanity, all while making decent $. In the worst of moments, 9 x out of 10 i’m going to laugh about it later. I’ve always got a story, and thank god i don’t work at the DMV or an insurance company.
    It’s remembering to continue to Live while at work that allows those rare, supercool newlywed moments to grace your consciousness. Bravo for taking note, man. Fuck being an ant or a robot.

  25. Pingback: Friday Links | Vicki Boykis

  26. Nice post.I read your book and loved it. Now I’m reading your blog and loving it even more. I say you come to Minnesota fro a book sign. haha

  27. One of the first things i remember my parents telling me was “if you dont have anything nice to say then dont say anything”. I dont understand why people dont get this concept, if you dont like the posts then dont read them, you are only wasting you’re own time on here writing crap. good work guys!

    on a more positive note, love you’re work waiter!

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