A few years ago, I was working at a local restaurant that featured breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. I always worked the breakfast and lunch buffets; we turned tables very quickly so even bad tips could be forgiven due to getting so many of them. Servers rarely forget a bad tipper, or a good one, but one man stood out from all the rest.
“Jerry” was a regular and came in on the same two days every week to sit in the same smoking booth right next to the kitchen. He’d enjoy the senior breakfast bar, coffee, and cigarettes. He seemed to be an easy customer; his only request was to always be tended to by a female, so male servers had to give up that booth when he came in and they were assigned to that section.
After a few months of employment, I was finally assigned to the smoking section when “Jerry” came in. He couldn’t have been an easier customer; one single coffee refill, only one set of dishes to bus, and no mess. He left me a $5 on the table off a bill that was barely over $6 and I was quite happy. For the moment, anyway.
As I was exiting the kitchen after his table was cleaned and reset, “Jerry” reappeared and gestured for me to hold out my hand. I did so, and he slipped me a $100 bill and a note. He quickly left as I unfolded the note. It said “Take a smoke break and meet me out back.” I froze, then began frantically looking around to find a coworker and ask them what was going on. The story I got was that “Jerry” would offer a large tip if you met him out back for a little you-know-what.
I was mortified! I gave the $100 and the note to my manager (a middle aged, outspoken woman) and told her to please get this back to him, and went back to my section. She was as shocked as I and promptly kicked him off the property with a threat to call the police.
I learned later that “Jerry” had been doing this for years and not a soul had thought to speak up about it. The girls either gave the tip back to him apologetically or accepted the tip and performed whatever disgusting service he requested. My coworker who had earned her $100 about a week earlier was fired after the truth came out and “Jerry” eventually stopped coming back.
It pains me to think that “Jerry” had been able to take advantage of females by offering them cash they were desperate for, and it bothers me even more that these girls either accepted his offer or were too afraid to speak up. The business was eventually closed, after allegations of the general manager harassing employees came to light and the owner had simply had enough. But that’s a whole other story.
- Jamie Baker
My blog: The Sanity of a Mad Woman