A quiet Saturday lunch shift quickly turned on its heels towards bitchiness and high drama.
One particularly moody woman (Keely) huffed and puffed her way into my section, keeping an intentional distance from her male dining companion (Sam), with whom she was clearly displeased. The hostess set down two menus and said "Enjoy your meal." Keely dismissed the menus with her hand, sending them to the floor. Sam begrudgingly picked them up and asked "What's wrong with you?" She glared, he glared. I couldn't wait to greet them.
"Hello, how are you?" I asked.
"Oh great, a waiter," Sam said.
Who the fuck else were you expecting to greet your table, a firefighter?
"I'm HUNGRY," Keely said, as if I willfully caused this hunger.
"Good thing you're in a restaurant," I replied. "Anything to drink?"
They both ordered double vodka sodas, a surefire cure for the already palpable tension between them. At this point I thought they were mother and son? Aunt and nephew? Whatever their relationship, they both seemed like miserable, shit people, and I had a hunch that our time together would only increase in acrimony.
I delivered the cocktails, as well as two waters. I pretended to wipe a non-existent smudge off the neighboring table so I could eavesdrop.
"When I asked you to fucking buy cigarettes, I meant for you to fucking buy cigarettes," she scolded him. "Sorry, geez," he said meekly. "You don't have to be such a bitch."
"If you fucking call me that again I will cause another scene," she warned.
Moments later, the bus boy approached me. "Girl at table 34 say she need more ice in her water," he said, apparently incapable of performing this complex function himself. I brought out a glass of ice, and she flashed me a fake smile. "Oh, thank you so much!" she said.
What happened next will shock you (just kidding, I hate when click-bait articles claim that).
My manager flagged me down and told me that Keely had just complained about me. Apparently I put too many ice cubes in the glass of ice, which she interpreted as subtle sarcasm. It wasn't. If I'd wanted to send a message, it would have been delivered through my eyes and my sashay, not ice.
Scorned, I immediately stormed over to Keely and Sam. I didn't wait for a break in their conversation.
"Time to order food," I said.
"I'm not ready for food," she said, "I'm READY for another drink."
"Oh great, and another drink for you?" I asked Sam.
"If he wanted another drink, I would have said so..." she responded.
After instructing the bartender to make Keely's drink as weak as her people skills, I downed a Hail Mary shot of vodka, then sauntered over to Keely and haphazardly slid her drink towards her. By this point they were tipsy. But not fun-tipsy, of course; mean-tipsy.
At no point did they ever order food. Instead, Keely and Sam stepped outside for a smoke after downing their second round. I followed them outside and insisted one of them give me a credit card.
"Do we look like we're just going to walk out on a tab?" Keely said as she blew smoke in my face.
"Why do you think I'm asking for a credit card?" I replied, lifting my pretty little head in condescension.
"Give me that," Sam said, reaching for the card. In its place he put a wad of cash that he didn't count in my palm. "No more credit cards," he told her, which caused the bitch beast to wail once again.
Keely and Sam never came back inside; instead they got in an Uber. She left her sunglasses, which I happily placed in our lost and found.
After all, it was the least I could do; Sam had unknowingly handed me $100 cash for a $48 tab. And you bet your ass I kept the change.