Unfiltered Story #221304

, , | Unfiltered | January 1, 2021

I used to be a server at a small family owned restaurant in a small sundowner town, so we were often the last place open on the main drag because we didn’t really have anything better to do. This fact made us incredibly busy out of the blue on occasion, and we only had one server on at a time for most shifts. On this particular night I am alone up front with a prep/dishwasher and a cook in the back. The three of us are holding things down nicely as we have all been through this more times than we can count. I stop by a table (middle aged couple with two teenage daughters) to collect their check and when I get to the register I notice that they are trying to use an expired coupon for $5 off a two entree order. The expiration date is the only issue I have with the coupon, but since we are family owned if I accept an expired one the difference comes out of my pocket. I walk back to the table to explain the situation…

ME: “I’m sorry to tell you this but your coupon expired a year ago so I’m not going to be able to accept it. Would you like me to go ahead and charge the full amount to the card you gave me?”


ME: “Did the radio station make any guarantees as to the coupons having no expiration date?”


(At this point other customers are starting to stare, probably because of the sudden screaming but also because their ONLY server hasn’t been racing through the restaurant taking care of them like he had been up until the screaming began. The two daughters are pulling up their hoods and staring down at their phones now, trying not to show how embarrassed they are.)

ME: “Ma’am, the coupon’s expiration date is clearly printed here in the bottom right corner.”

(I lean in to show her and she snatches the coupon from my hand, grabs a pen, and changes the last digit of the year by hand. She triumphantly hands it back to me.)


(At this point my cook and dishwasher have come up front and are standing by the bar, watching. All other activity in the restaurant has stopped as everyone watches the crazy unfold.)

ME: “EXCUSE ME, MA’AM, that kind of language is inappropriate and if you persist I will have to ask you to leave.”


(She stands up to get in my face. She is a good foot shorter than I, so I’m sure to others the image was quite comical.)

ME: “Ma’am I would like to respectfully as that you turn around for a moment and look behind you.”

(She shoots me a confused look, then does as I have requested.)

ME:” All of these people came in here for a nice meal. Every single one of them. Do you think that they are all staring at ME right now?”


DAD: “He’s not making them stare, dear. YOU ARE BEING A TRAINWRECK.”

(At this point mom calms down a bit, and I go on to explain our policy regarding accepting expired coupons.)

MOM:” We’ll what if I tip you the difference? Would that be okay?”

ME: …

(At this point I had forgotten that my cook and dishwasher were behind me. Suddenly I feel a hand on my shoulder.)

COOK: “Ma’am, if you tip him the difference you’ll be paying exactly the same amount as you would without the coupon, except that he wouldn’t get his tip and to be honest with you after seeing the way you just acted he deserves a Hell of a lot more than $5. Now you can either pay the full amount PLUS a generous tip AND apologize to all these nice people and your poor family for your behavior, or I can call the police and have you ticketed for disorderly conduct and creating a public nuisance. Your call.”

(She runs out of the restaurant, leaving her family and her purse behind. Her husband pays using a credit card and tips me $20 in cash, and on his way out the door he “drops” his wife’s driver’s license on the ground with a smile and a wink.)

Cut to the next morning, half an hour before we open. I am regaling the owner with the story of why there is a driver’s license in the till and a hand altered coupon on the counter. I am sweeping as I tell her the story and she is undecided between livid and hysterical. It’s either the best thing she’s ever heard or she wants to kill this woman on sight. That’s when a sheepish knock came at the window. I turn around and sure enough, it’s Mom.

ME: “Speak of the Devil!”

(The owner walks to the window, holding the coupon and license, but neither are in Mom’s line of sight.)

MOM: “Hi, I came in last night and I guess I must have dropped my license somewhere, have you seen it?”

OWNER: “Well, we haven’t found anything yet but we’re still cleaning up at the moment. If you’d like to come in and wait for a few while we finish up I’m sure we’ll find it if it’s here.”

(Mom accepts and is let inside. At this point she sees me for the first time, and a look of recognition flashes across her face. She stuffs it down and returns to resting bitch face, presumably to save face in front of the owner in case I decide to call her out. She sits at the table the owner is at, going over last night’s receipts.)

OWNER: “Hey Tim, what’s up with this hand altered expired coupon in here? You didn’t accept this, did you?”

ME: “No, and the lady made a big deal about it. Disrupted several people’s meals.”

OWNER: “Oh no, that’s terrible! (turns to Mom) I sure hope you weren’t here to witness that, ma’am. It’s just terrible when people don’t understand basic human decency.”

(Mom grimaces, trying to play it off as though she wasn’t here but understands what Owner is saying. At this point Cook arrives, and is on his way through the dining room to the kitchen.)

COOK: “Oh hey, you must be back to apologize!”

MOM: “I don’t know what you’re talking about, sir. I am here to retrieve my license that I seem to have left here last night.”

COOK: “No, YOU didn’t leave it, YOU left your entire family sitting in the wake of your shitty attitude and your husband apparently decided not to let you get away with it. Now what I said still stands, you either apologize and tip this man or I will have you ticketed.”

MOM: “For what? It’s your word against mine and who would believe a line cook?”

OWNER: “ME, and my 6 cameras.”

(Mom ends up apologizing to all three of us, leaving a decent tip, and writing an exemplary review of the restaurant on social media. Dad still comes in for lunch on his own sometimes, but Mom has yet to be seen again.)

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