Taco No No

, , , , , , | Right | November 16, 2017

(I work at a 24-hour taco place in a college town, and I usually do graveyard shifts. We get our fair share of drunk students and strange characters. One regular customer, a lanky, scruffy-looking guy with a backpack, who smells like marijuana, comes in three or four times a week between midnight and 6:00 am. He always gets two tacos and a cup of water, pays with cash that often includes larger bills, leaves a dollar plus his coin change in the tip jar, sits at the same table if it’s available, eats quickly, consolidates all his trash into one basket, washes his hands in the bathroom, and leaves. He gives polite smiles, says all his pleases and thank you’s, and never has any complaints, but he does not make small talk and responds with one- or two-word answers when chatted with. That said, I much prefer a quiet, polite customer to a loud, rude one. The thought that he might be a drug dealer has occurred to me, but he’s a good customer and I have no interest in causing him any trouble if my unfounded theory happens to be true. One night at about 4:00 am, he comes in, does his normal routine, and is sitting at his usual table eating when another customer, obviously drunk, comes in and approaches the register.)

Drunk Customer:Hey! You’ve got to give me a bunch of free tacos. Your manager said so.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Drunk Customer: “Are you f****** deaf? Free tacos. Uh, like, twenty of them.”

Me: “Sir, we don’t usually give tacos away for free, and my manager hasn’t told me anything about this. Can I ask why he said you should get free tacos?”

Drunk Customer: *he huffs and rolls his eyes like I’m a complete idiot* “B****, it’s not your business. Give me tacos! Tell the [Mexican slur]s back there to get ’em started, now, b****!”

(The regular jumps out of his seat and walks quietly up behind the drunk customer.)

Drunk Customer: “If you don’t give me twenty free tacos right now, I’m going to beat your f****** a**!”

Regular: “[Drunk Customer].”

Drunk Customer: “Who the f***—”

(He whirls around to see the regular standing behind him, shaking his head slowly. The drunk customer freezes like a deer in the headlights.)

Drunk Customer: “Uh, hey, [Regular].”

Regular: “No.”

Drunk Customer: “Hey, man, I was just—”

Regular: “No. Leave.”

(The drunk customer practically bolts out the door. The regular looks up at me and smiles politely.)

Regular: “Have you called the cops?”

Me: *still a little shaken and confused* “What? The cops? N-no?”

Regular: “Okay. Are you going to?”

Me: “I don’t— Should I?”

Regular: “No, thank you.”

(He then sat back down as if nothing happened, finished his tacos and water, consolidated his trash into one basket, washed his hands in the bathroom, and left. I gave him his tacos for free the next couple times I saw him, but his routine still hasn’t changed.)

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