Waitstaff Confess How They Absolutely Ruined A Special Moment In A Customer's Life.
Waiters, waitresses, and bartenders of Reddit who were involved in some big moments in some people's lives were asked: "How did you mess it up for them?" These are some of the best answers.
I promptly say my hellos and say something alone the lines of, "Hey you have a son right!? How old is he now?" Turns out their son passed when he was 5 due to cancer.. Wife of course is tearing up and excuses herself. Never felt like such a piece of [crap].
2/24 I accidentally split a small amount of white wine on a woman's coat while clearing the floor. She instantly gets this look of vehement anger and disgust on her face but before she can say anything her husband butts in. "Oh thank god! That coat is hideous."
They were both drunk and really pissed off with each other. I apologised and tried to escape. The wife kept following me around trying to yell at me but the husband just kept stopping her mid-sentence, commenting on her horrible clothes and how he wished I would spill stuff on all her belongings.
They eventually started yelling and screaming at each other and were escorted out by security.
3/24 Family of about 15 people are out for this man's 40th birthday party. His wife is a vegetarian, has been for 23 years. She tells the waiter, who's only been a server for like a month. She orders a vegetarian hamburger with blacken seasoning (which is like cajun seasoning, but makes the burger look black).
Cool, this mf hits the button for a turkey burger, doesn't check when he grabs the tray, and gives it to her. So it's covered in this spicy seasoning that doesn't really let the color of the patty sow, and she eats most of the burger before she realizes it's not vegetarian.
She lost her [mind]. The party of 15 people all walk out without paying (manager said he'd comp their meals), but they just dipped. She sent multiple emails to corporate, she was vomiting all night. Didn't eat for like four days after. Like 1000 word emails that are straight rage.
Ok, so if this happened to me, I'd never go back to that restaurant. But she couldn't resist all that free [stuff] the corporate managers were going to give her to stop bashing the restaurant. They fired the [bad] waiter, gave her hella freebies, and she comes back.
First time back, just a nice dinner with her husband, she orders a vegetarian burger, tells the waitress she's been a vegetarian for 23 years, pls make sure it's vegetarian.
Veggie burger comes out with bacon on it. Bruh.
4/24 Valentine's Day, 1993. I'll never forget the shame. I was waiting tables in college and our restaurant had replaced all the big tables in the dining room with bistro style 2 tops. Real close together. For couples. It was 9:00 and we were packed. I grabbed a plate off one table, trying to be quick but discreet. When I brought my arm straight back with the plate, I moved too far. There was another one of those 2 tops inches from my back. My right elbow caught a 60 year old lady right at the base of her skull. HARD. Knocked her smooth out. Face-planted into her dinner.
The whole dining room gasped. I freaked. Manager freaked. Her husband freaked. Everybody freaked. Except her. When she came to a few seconds later, she was the sweetest, most gracious, kind person you've ever met. Face covered in fish and asparagus, but she could NOT have been nicer. Which made me feel even worse, of course. We comped their meal, gave them a $100 gift card, and basically offered to be their slaves. But they wouldn't hear of it. They even tipped. That was 20 years ago and I STILL feel awful about it.
5/24 Birthday party for a families grandfather. It was a nice little cake with some type of ww2 fighter plane stuck on top of it because he was a veteran. Presented the cake they sang all is fine and dandy. So many comments on how awesome the cake looks, grandpa is so grateful for his family getting him a thoughtful cake. Tells me how excited he is.
Go back to cut the cake with the pantry girl and we drop the cake and it is all smashed all over the floor.
I felt so terrible. Grandpa was understanding and didn't care too much. But daughter was pissed and basically in tears.
6/24 I lost an engagement ring on Valentine's Day when my restaurant was completely packed and super busy. My manager stalled dessert at that table for about an hour while I looked and still served all of my other tables. The ring box slipped through a hole in my apron, got kicked around by servers who only step ON or OVER things in the kitchen, so I found the box after about 20 minutes in one place and the ring 40 minutes later in the most disgusting pile of grit and grime under the stove.
The guy wasn't stupid and he figured that I had lost the ring, but my manager saved the day by sending someone to the bakery across the street and getting an elaborate cake to make it seem as if we had them wait in order to prepare such a wonderful surprise. Plus he kept the drinks flowing at their table. The special cake, free bottle of champagne and finally the ring made everything work out in the end...for the couple. I had to pay for the cake, all of their drinks and a $150 bottle of champagne.
7/24 It was the grandma's fault but I worked for a Mexican restaurant in college and we had to use these huge trays. Anyway I'm walking a tray loaded with chips and queso as well as about seven margaritas served in oversized glassware. There is only enough room between the table and the divider for me to walk behind the people. Well this grandma decides to abruptly back into me as I'm walking by fully loaded and the whole tray spills all over this poor girl who just graduated from college. She is crying like hysterical and I'm trying to clean up when my manager just tells me to go home. [Crappy] thing was I needed the money for rent. Never went back after that.
8/24 So I was a host at a restaurant but I would kinda help everyone who looked like they needed help. My manager one day asked if I wanted to come in on a day we are usually closed because there is a large party celebrating 3 children. It was a confirmation, a first communion and a birthday party for 3 siblings combined.
I had never done this before but I was handed a big tray with about 15 glasses of water on them. I ended up taking all the glasses from one side and when it started to not be balanced I over corrected and about 5 glasses of water tipped over on my tray and the lip of the tray was like a water slide. It launched 5 glasses worth of water at the 5 year old who just had her first communion in this beautiful white dress.
I was mortified and ran inside the kitchen while the other servers and bussers helped tidy up. When I came out the mom was waiting for me and pulled me aside.
She said "Hey, everyone told me that its your first day doing this job. Don't worry, it was an accident. It was just water, she wasn't upset and we aren't mad either. Everyone thinks it is a great story that we can talk about for a while."
I was so relieved she was that nice and forgiving but deep down, I think I [messed] up that day.
9/24 I ruined a family's vacation, apparently. I was a server at an oceanfront restaurant in the Myrtle Beach area about five years ago. Summer tourist season was in full swing, and there were happy, sunburnt families everywhere. We were on a long wait, so there were people waiting outside on the front patio until they were called for their table. There was also seating outside on the same patio, and I had a table out there. The front door to the restaurant was large and wooden, and only had a small window at the top that resembled a window on a boat.
I was running around like [mad] during dinner rush, and was taking drinks outside to my table. I pushed the front door open with vigor, and proceeded to knock a little girl down who was standing in front of it. As soon as I heard the loud "thump," I knew something horrible had happened. I see the girl on the ground SCREAMING bloody murder. Luckily, I don't see any blood. Momma Bear starts yelling her head off at me. Like, in my face, telling me they were leaving, and thanking me for ruining their vacation on the first day. I was trying SO hard to be sympathetic because I have a bad habit of laughing when I get really nervous. She talked to the manager and left. I didn't get in trouble. I was just happy I didn't spill my table's tray full of drinks during the ordeal.
10/24 For a little more pizzazz the people brought in sparklers to add to the cake instead of just candles. The waitress lights them...now you probably have only lit sparklers outside so you, like all parties involved here, have no idea how much smoke they emit. It was enough to engage the fire alarm...no sprinklers, but ear piercing alarm and emergency lighting....on a Saturday night during the dinner rush. We had to evacuate and wait for the fire department. Lots of people who already ate just left. It was a fun little, calm, relaxing change of pace compared to the chaos of a typical Saturday night in a restaurant.
11/24 Long story short, dude says, "Hey, I want to propose, can you help me?" as he hands me a ring. Ok, this would be cool if the family of 14 was just walking in. Dude said this as I'm taking away the plate of his main course. Yeah, they are basically done. Really dude? We are a well known, high end place. We can do some pretty awesome stuff...with time. People phone such information in, a few months in advance.
I quickly grab two servers and tell them to take full control of my other 2 tables. I grab my manager, and two of us head to our barkey. We get the kitchen manager involved. 5-10 minutes later, we have a large platter, maybe 14 inches by 14 inches, fully decorated with special desserts, freshly drawn designs bordering the whole plate, and "Will you marry me?" written in the middle, with one desert holding the ring. I walk out, and he already makes eye contact with me. I wink to let him know it's on.
I approach the table and say roughly, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we appreciate your return business so we have a little complimentary dessert to enjoy." I place it down directly in front of the couple. There are some gasps, he gets down on one knee, she's crying, YES, cell phone pictures, and then my manager comes out with some comped champagne. Later, one of the moms says, "I was looking for you earlier to ask for some coffee, but I guess you were busy with more important stuff huh?"
12/24 We had a dude, Dan, who would come in regularly but with different women on separate occasions. Ruby was his wife, Jessica was his girlfriend. Now he's a regular, the whole staff knows this and feels terrible but what can we do? We can't cause a scene by telling the wife, we'd get fired. And we have to be pleasant to the dude and whichever woman he's with or we get in trouble with our manager. But each of the serving staff dreads having them sit in our section because it means having to fake like you don't know the [jerk] was in there Monday night with another woman.
They sit down in my section. I roll up with my cheery fake smile to take an order. Now I don't know why I did this, but since they've been regulars forever so I do some banter about its nice to see them again this week, they tell me it's their five year anniversary. I say "Oh that's sweet" or something and I ask Dan for his order take it, and turn to his wife.
"So Jessica, it's a special night what can I get to make it perfect for you?" Her face turns to stone. Oh god. I called her the girlfriend's name.
I try to correct it but it's too late. Ruby rounds on Dan and hisses "You bring your [other woman] here?" Dan asks me to get my manager. I scurry off as the screaming match begins. The manager, in between Ruby loudly verbally skewering Dan for being faithless, asks them to leave.
Manager comes back and tells me that I'm fired. He thinks, and Dan apparently insisted, I did it on purpose.
13/24 Today we had a birthday so 6 of us got together to do the customary whooping and hollering to the table. As we were walking out, the yelling woke up a small baby. Our announcer yelled, "Mike is celebrating his 26th birthday, help us give him a hand!" 'Mike' leans over and, in a half whisper says, "My name is Brandon." Our announcer is so embarrassed, she drops his cake onto the floor.
14/24 I'm a hostess at a fine dining restaurant. For birthdays and anniversaries we add either birthday confetti or rose petals to the table to decorate it for the guests. I was seating a couple and since it said it was their anniversary on their reservation notes I took the rose petals with me and as they sat down I sprinkled them at the table and said something like "since you're celebrating your anniversary we like to decorate the table for you". The guy looked up and said "it's our anniversary?!" And the girl then got pissed and screamed "YES. why do you think we came here?!" I then gave them their menus and left as fast as I possibly could and told my coworkers about the incident.
15/24 My manager was helping me with this group of girls who had a birthday. I thought let's make it fun and grab everyone's attention and sing for this girl. For some reason my manager thought he should crack a joke so he asks the girl how old is she turning and she responded with "18" with some giggles. So he then proceeds to yell "YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!" He takes a break to build the suspense and then shouts "SHES LEGAL!" Not a single person laughed. Everyone just stared at us and the girl sitting just became super weirded out. Anyways it was a super awkward happy birthday song and a swift exit from the ladies.
16/24 Spilled beer on a woman who had invited her family out to dinner to announce her pregnancy. The woman wasn't too upset (she got a HUGE discount), but my manager was PISSED.
17/24 There was a baby shower at a restaurant I worked at during university - it was in a separate room away from the entrance, I had been directing guests for at least half an hour when a very pregnant women and her friend walked in. They were looking a little lost so I asked if they were there for the baby shower as I had with all the other guests and the pregnant lady looked shocked and the friend looked extremely angry, turns out it was a surprise and they hadn't told us! They had gone to a huge effort and racked a huge bill before hand so they must have been super pissed off. I apologised but the family weren't happy - I avoided for the rest of the afternoon!
18/24 So we have this party at the restaurant and there's this one woman with a nice fur coat. Like really nice. She's sitting at one of the tables closest to the door to the kitchen and placed her coat on the chair she was sitting at. One of the servers and I moved to the table to clear some plates and were stacking them to carry more. As we backed away we bumped into each other and a small dish of ranch dressing slides off a plate. The thing does a 360 on the way down, throws a spiral of dressing into the air and nails her coat, but not her. Nobody saw but us, we looked at each other and noped out. I think she was too drunk to notice as she left, since she didn't say anything. Still feel bad about trashing her coat, though.
19/24 Had a bday party , the boss insisted I cut the cake, I am very bad under pressure. After talking it over with the lady she said she could do it but my boss was like no she will take care of it. So I bring out the cake and I kinda just stare around for a second like "Don't screw this up." I cut one of the most crooked pieces ever and stared up at the table nobody noticed, so I kept going and this one lady stood up and was like "Oh no hunny here let me show you how go cut a cake properly." Also had an engagement I kinda knew what he was up to because he had that look when he was reaching for something and there was rumours he was going to so I stayed back to let him propose , that's when my boss came by and said "Go check up on your table" as soon as I did he was proposing and I interrupted with "Are we still doing alright over here?" he just looked me dead in the eye it was so awkward.
20/24 I was getting balloons for some kids bc it was a birthday party, I asked another server if she'd go around and tie them to the kid's wrists for me so I wouldn't have to speak to them bc direct quote "I hate kids". Dad was right behind me waiting til I was finished to ask me for something.
21/24 A couple and the girl's mother was celebrating the girl's birthday. A lot of the waitresses were freaking out because the guy looked identical to Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I finally asked him if anyone has ever told him how he looked like JGL and he's like "All of the time." He then got into a conversation with me and was super talkative every time I went over. At the beginning of the dinner, the girl was sitting with her mother, half way through she sat next to him and started to call him her boyfriend every time I came over. I then realized she thought I was hitting on him so I brought up my boyfriend and how the staff was dying for me to ask hoping she'd get the hint that I was never hitting on him in the first place. At the end, she skipped dessert when I asked if she wanted a free one for her birthday and quickly asked for the check. Something tells me her birthday dinner didn't go as planned.
22/24 A girl was having her 15th birthday party. There was a lot of family there, like 15 people plus her boyfriend. Her grandma had brought in a cake and gave it to the person up front to put in the fridge. Now, unless you say no singing, we're going to sing when we bring your cake out. So we do and the girl flips out. Gets really mad and angsty, yelling at poor grandma how she ruined everything. Grandma's like "I never told them to sing! It's not my fault" while the staff stand there awkwardly. Her boyfriend took her outside to calm down, and she came back in to eat cake.
23/24 A couple came in to celebrate a birthday, and waited very patiently (too patiently) for their order. I was very busy that night, and after about 45 minutes when they finally asked where their food was, I checked with the kitchen. As it turns out, I never turned the ticket in. It was in my pocket, and the meal was going to take another 20 minutes minimum, even if I rushed it.
They had after-dinner plans, and had to leave without eating. I admitted my mistake. I felt terrible about it, so I used my employee discount and bought them an entire cheesecake and gave it to them on their way out with my apologies.
They came back a few days later and asked for my section and left a very generous tip. They spoke to my manager and explained what had happened at the birthday dinner and thanked her for hiring such a great server. My boss was so impressed that she gave me the $50 back that I spent on the cheesecake.
24/24 I was waitressing at someone's wedding reception, and there wasn't enough room between the tables because my boss told them they could fit more people than they could. I was getting drinks to everyone (130 people at least, 6 waitresses and a busboy) and I went past the table with the cake on it. The cake was covered in icing sunflowers and had a cute little personalized sculpture of the bride and groom as a topper. As I went past with the pitchers of tea, my booty clipped the table and shook the chubby sculpture off the top of the cake. Then I tried to keep going, but I'm sure people noticed it was my fault. The planner was able to put a few flowers on top and stack the halves of the tiny sculpture so it looked whole again, but that whole time I felt nervous on top of stressed.
Image Source: Luis Molinero / shutterstock.com
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.