Backstory: I’d been working as a server in a Tex-Mex restaurant for about a year when I had a patron and his wife sit down for dinner. Let’s call him Frank. They ordered a double order of beef fajitas. I made my way out of the kitchen to check on them to see how everything was. As I approached the table, I notice my manager was already speaking with them. Frank flags me down. “Does this look well done to you?” he asks me. I comically cleaned my glasses and leaned in for a better look. The steak was obviously undercooked (not for my taste but medium rare isn’t for everyone). My boss and I both tried to fix the situation by offering a fresh new plate or desert, but Frank was very mild-mannered and assured us both that it was no problem.
I continued to my duties and my manager, Bob, ran for the confines of the office. A few minutes later I returned to an empty table only to find a full, cold plate of steak fajitas and a note written in chicken-scratch male handwriting on the back of a napkin: “Our food was terrible, undercooked and no one offered to pay for it. SERVER SUCKS ASS.” I took the note to my boss and he was just as surprised as I was. They seemed fine all night; why the harsh note? Some people just want a free meal.
A few months later, on a busy Saturday night, our favorite patron – Frank – walks in the door. Except this time accompanied by his wife, daughter and mother. Guess whose section they end up in? I do not notice or remember him yet, but as I am working with the table everything is going fine until his appetizer, which was running behind, caught up with the entrees and gets to the table at the same time. This aggravates our #1 into poking me in the chest, stating that my job is too easy, my hair is too long to be serving food, it was all my fault he can’t have more than one option of food in front of him at a time and so on. It then hits me like a bad stepfather. This was that same jerk-off that walked out on a bill that we tried to fix.
After his meal I dropped off the check. He gives me a look that could’ve made him lose an eye and tells me (doesn’t ask) to send my superior over to discuss the terms of my service/the bill, which maybe added up to about thirty dollars for the four of them. BUT before I walk off I say, “You know, I’m not stupid. I remember you and your wife coming in a few months back and walking out on the tab.” This gets me a four-way look of shock from the family at the table and I’m sure from the tables close by. Just as he stands up to confront me, my new manager, Linda, rounds the corner just in time to stop the towering douche bag from grabbing my collar. She separates us as we have a four and a half minute shouting match in the middle of the restaurant on a busy Saturday night. He and his wife are yelling obscenities and threats towards myself, Linda and the rest of the staff. They leave the building in an uproar. Linda and I try to access the situation when I hear that the angry family are outside with the police waiting for an apology. I, very naturally and calmly, told them to go fuck themselves and the cheap leased horse they rode in on. We then explained to the police that they had walked out on a tab months before and that I brought it up. The cops then left, as did the Franks.
After a few weeks go by, I hear that a big corporate vacation in Hawaii that the president of the company was taking with most of the other “higher-ups” and their families had to be cut short due to a lawsuit with our Frank and HR. I began searching for another job and gave up on a $500 vacation check that corporate was supposed to mail me for 4 years with the growing company. Upon finding a new job, I cut off my dread locks and got a pair of contacts for the interviews. During the last week of my time at the J-Tree, I got sat with a two-top, a woman with her granddaughter. They enjoyed everything about their visit, complimenting me and the food, and go on to explain that their last visit to the J-Tree was shattered by an unruly, stoner-type waiter that “threatened” them yet stood up to her asshole of a son. She looked me square in the eye and thanked me for being a good person. She paid in full for her meal and left a generous tip. Best five hundred bucks I never got to spend.