Cause And Defect

, , , , , , , | Right | October 26, 2017

(I work as a hostess and cashier in a 24-hour diner while in high school. One of the waitresses is basically the epitome of all diner waitresses; she’s in her 40s but looks older, she has a gravelly, whiskey-and-cigarettes voice, she takes no crap from anybody, she’s very popular with all our regulars, and she’s absolutely unflappable. It’s a weekday in the summer, late evening, after the dinner rush but before the bars close and all the drunks come to us, so it is quiet. My manager and I are standing behind the main counter near the cash register talking, and [Waitress] has just refilled coffees for three guys in a booth and is standing there chatting, holding the half-full coffee pot in her right hand. She is mostly talking to the two guys on the left side of the booth, and apparently the guy on the right side thinks he isn’t getting enough attention, because all of a sudden he reaches out and grabs her butt cheek.)

Me: “Oh, my God, [Manager]! Did you see? That guy just groped [Waitress]!”

(The manager heads for the gap in the counter to go intervene — I don’t think he knows what is coming, just that it won’t be pretty — but without even missing a beat in her conversation, [Waitress] just turns her hand over and pours the entire remaining contents of the coffee pot into the groper’s lap.)

Groper: “F***! S***! You b****!”

(At this point, one of his buddies “helpfully” tips his glass of water into the groper’s lap, and my manager is laughing so hard that he has literally fallen on the floor. The ice water bath does cool the guy’s scalded scrotum enough that he is able to get up and come yell at someone less likely to conk him with the coffee pot than [Waitress], and as [Manager] is still on the floor and thus out of sight, that’s apparently going to be me.)

Groper: “Did you see her pour coffee on me? I want her fired!”

(I am a particularly baby-faced 16-year-old at this time, so how he thinks I have the authority to fire anybody, much less this waitress literally old enough to be my mom, is beyond me. I look to my manager for help, but he’s still down, laughing so hard he’s wheezing. Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure he’ll have my back if I need it; he’s like that.)

Me: “Yeah, I saw it, right after I saw you grab her butt. We don’t have to put up with that.”

Groper: “You… I… She can’t! I’ll call the cops! Yeah, that was assault. I’ll call the cops!”

Me: “Well, I guess you could. Or you could just hang around; there’s usually a couple of them dropping in around now for some coffee before they go round up drunks. They like to sit in [Waitress]’s section, so that’ll be convenient. You can tell them your version, and we can tell them how she was so startled her hand slipped after some pervert grabbed her butt, and we’ll see which one they think is assault.”

(At this point the guy just shrieks and stomps out. One of the busboys who’s come out of the back to see what the commotion is about starts to run after him, since he’s walking out on the bill, but our manager, who has managed to regain his feet, waves him off — it’s just coffee, not worth chasing an angry customer into the dark. Meanwhile, the other two guys who were with him come up to the register, and even though they’ve gotten separate checks, they pay his, too, so that works out.)

Groper’s Buddy: “Sorry about him. His girlfriend dumped him, and he’s totally been acting like an a**hole.”

Me: “I think you might have your cause and effect switched around there, but yeah, okay.”

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