Hippie Faux Pas

I’m in the kitchen munching on some fried polenta chips when the hostess interrupts me.

“You’ve got a new table on ten.”

I look at the clock. It’s almost closing.

“Does anyone else want this table?” I ask. It’s a stupid question. The other waiters mentally vacated the place hours ago.

“Hell no,” Louis says eating his dinner.

“Come on Arlene. Remember when I let you leave early last week?” I plead.

“So sorry,” Arlene laughs.

“Shit.”

I walk out to the table. It’s a family of four.

The father’s a no nonsense military looking kind of guy. Seated across from him in the usual soccer mom getup is his wife. Next to her, facing me, a mass of black curls and inexpertly applied makeup, is her teenage daughter. She smiles at me toothily.

The other daughter sits facing away from me – face obscured by a hanging mane of heavy black hair. Her bejeweled fingers tap impatiently on the table top. Probably embarrassed to be seen eating out with her parents.

“Can I get anyone something to drink?” I ask cheerfully.

The man and his wife order some red wine.

“I’ll have a coke,” the first daughter says looking up and down. Yeah, she digs me.

“And what will you have miss?” I ask the other daughter.

The daughter looks up at me from under her hair. Suddenly and I notice “she” has a beard.

“I’m not a girl,” the newly revealed young man sniffs defensively.

Thank God, I think to myself, you’d be one UGLY girl.

“I’m very sorry sir. I need to get a new pair of glasses,” I say trying to cover my surprise.

“He said you were a girllll!” the sister taunts.

“Shut up idiot,” the brother shoots back.

“Enough” the father cuts in, “Tell the man what you want to drink.”

“I’ll have a Coke,” the young man mutters sullenly.

Tip in the toilet I go and fetch their drinks.

They order quickly and are soon tucking into their entrées. While they’re eating the son gets up to go to the bathroom. As he approaches me I can feel the hatred coming off of him like heat off a radiator.

“I’m not a girl,” he hisses looking me in the eye.

“No kidding,” I deadpan.

He’s stops in his tracks and starts to say something.

“Can I help you sir?” I say skewering him with my thousand yard waiter stare. I’m twice his age and outweigh him by fifty pounds.

Saying nothing he shuffles past me. I can’t help but notice he’s headed for the wrong bathroom.

“Sir, that’s the ladies room.”

“I knew that,” he says rapidly changing course.

“Just checking,” I chuckle.

The family finishes their meal. They take a pass on dessert. Dad asks for the check.

“Sorry for the mix up,” I say handing him the bill.

Saying nothing he hands me a credit card. Oh boy.

Check paid the family gets up and heads for the door. I warily look inside the checkbook.

Dad left me a $100 tip.

I run up to the front to thank the man for his generosity.

“That waiter’s a jerk,” I overhear the son saying as he heads out the door.

“It was an honest mistake. Get a haircut!” the father calls out after him.

Catching up to the father I extend my hand.

“Thank you sir!” I say.

With a firm grip he replies,

“No. Thank YOU.”

“Not a problem,” I grin.

“Goddamn hippie,” the father mutters walking out onto the street.

I stand in the doorway a hundred dollars richer.

That was the most profitable faux pas I ever committed.


Comments

Hippie Faux Pas — 25 Comments

  1. I was drawn to your blog by the idea of empathizing with the rants of a fellow server. My attention was held fast by your entertaining narrative. Rant on waiter man, rant on.

  2. That was a great story, and funny too. I was a waitress for many years during college and i never got a $100.00 tip! You know the old motto ‘the customer is always right’. This time you were right, and the Dad thought it was great!

  3. totally awesome, in my line of work (i do tech support over the phone) i hear men that sound like women and women that sound like men.. we even have to put comments on profiles to make sure that we address certain people that call by their correct gender.. too funny

  4. i came across this cause it was one of those ones on the dashboard homepage thing and i think it’s excellent. i am (unfortunately.. only because it’s a hole of a restaurant) a waitress and i’ve had some very memorable glitches as well. i once greeted a man at the door who was observing the overfed koi in the pond at the entrance whose wife was in the washroom. he was commenting about the incredible size of them when i let the words “yea they sure are fat arent’ they?” as his wife waddled over, weighing in at probably four hundred. mortifying. i felt like the hugest asshole. but everyone who was there laughed themselves blue in the face, everyone but that poor lady. i feel for waiters.

  5. Nice tip. It’s nice that the father got it and didn’t hold you responsible for his son’s hairstyle and attitude.

  6. We had something similar happen this summer. Our oldest son refused to get his hair cut. He is a pretty boy with delicate features and really did look like a girl. He went to go to the bathroom and was directed to the ladies room. He got a haircut after that.

  7. I’m surprised you thought your tip was in the toilet. I sensed, your having described the father as a military-looking guy, that your faux pas would feed his own frustration quite nicely.

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