Waiters and waitresses are exposed to a variety of customers each night. More likely that not, some of those customers will be out on a date at their restaurant. Sometimes, the date goes well and a relationship is formed. Other times, it can go horribly wrong. When that happens, the wait staff is there to see it all go down.
Servers on Reddit share the worst dinner date disaster they've ever witnessed. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I worked at a bar in a hotel for five years. I had a table come down from their hotel room, and sit at one of my pub tables for dinner. From the moment they sat down, you could tell the wife was furious about something. She was unbelievably pleasant toward me, but did not say a single word to the man at the table. I get their drinks and then their orders- he ordered steak and she ordered the sauciest pasta dish we had on the menu.
About 20 minutes later (the wife still hadn’t said a word to the man since they sat down), their food was done and my food runner set it on the table. Right as I was about to walk over to see if they needed anything else, I saw the woman stand up, say 'Get bent, John,' as she picked up the plate of pasta and dumped it all over his head and down into his lap.
Then she very calmly walked out of the bar and back up to her hotel room.
I spent a few minutes helping the man clean up and got my manager to come handle the situation from there as it was way above my pay grade at that point.
Later in the night, the woman came back to the bar without the man and we talked for a while. Turns out he admitted to cheating on her right before their dinner reservation. I never saw either of them again."
"I work at a small bakery in my town. I am general kitchen staff, and not a waiter, but I was there when this all went down.
It was around two in the afternoon, the day had been normal, but suddenly I saw the retail staff in a huddle and took my first opportunity to go see what was happening.
Apparently a couple had come in on this summer day, ordered two bowls of soup and sat down. The girl that took their order went to the back and prepared their soup for them, then brought it back out.
In the time it took for her to get the soup, the woman had taken off her flip-flop, put her leg across the table, and the guy was going to town sucking on this lady's toes in the middle of the restaurant. The waitress didn't notice until she went to place the soup on the table. She stood there in shock, and the couple was oblivious to her presence. This guy is going all in, and the lady is starting to moan by the time they realize their soup is ready.
The waitress was in complete shock for the rest of her shift, and that couple is no longer allowed on the premises."
"I used to work at a bar where 70% of the customers were on first dates. There was a line of two person booths along the wall when you first walk in. There were two dudes sitting by themselves in two different booths. Both of them were facing the door, one was in the first booth one was in the last booth. This girl comes in and walks up to the first booth, says hi to the guy, and sits down.
They are chatting for about five minutes when the other guy who is sitting by himself comes up to her and says 'Hey I’m so-and-so… aren’t you so-and-so..?'
They all talk for like 30 seconds, and she gets up and goes and sits with the other guy at the last booth. Eventually a different girl shows up for a date with the guy at the first booth.
I don’t know exactly what happened, but I almost died watching it unfold. She was definitely embarrassed."
"A couple of friends and I went to the Mexican restaurant where another friend was waiting tables. There was a couple kind of catty-cornered from us that had a bit of an 'off' vibe. We could see them, but not really hear them, so we asked our server friend what was up. She said it seemed to be a first or second date that was a bit awkward. The girl had ordered one of those enormous pitchers, and was not sharing it.
I had to go make a phone call (back in the pay phone days), and when I came back, I ended up sitting with my back to the couple. Maybe 10 minutes later, I hear our friend the server say, 'No, no, no!' and the sound of a full punch bowl being emptied from a great height.
Giant Drink Girl had stood up, swayed a bit, and vomited all over their meals, table, and the surrounding floor. The restaurant comped everyone sitting nearby, and the girl’s date abandoned her in the ensuing chaos."
"I was a waiter at a very famous, upscale restaurant. One night, a gentleman approached the maitre’d, requesting someone take pictures of him proposing to his girlfriend. Since I was the closest one to the maitre’d, I was tasked with performing this duty.
After stalking the table for a solid hour, the moment was inevitably approaching. I set up at an angle where she couldn’t see me and when he busted out the ring I started taking as many pictures as I could. Anyone who has tried to capture a once in a lifetime moment on camera knows that you’re not really watching what’s going on, you’re just trying to frame the moment. After about 20-30 pictures, I slowly realized that she was declining the proposal and the scene was quickly degenerating into a Five Alarm dumpster fire. However, I was far enough away that I couldn’t hear what was being said, and couldn’t be sure of what was transpiring so I continued taking pictures just in case. Finally, I stepped back and watched the scene unfold in reality as she stormed out of the restaurant in embarrassment and he scrambled to pay the bill and chase after her.
He’d requested that I use my phone and send the best pictures to him. Needless to say, he never approached us for the pictures and I have about 100+ pictures of a wedding proposal gone wrong somewhere deep in my iCloud photo bank."
"This couple came into this bar that I worked at, and it was business as usual; took their order, brought out drinks and food, including dessert. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
However, this couple began to argue as they work through their dessert about how the guy didn't bring a battery pack to charge their phones. Home girl is straight up screaming at this dude. Luckily, it was a really slow night and they were only ones in the restaurant.
I offer to charge their phone if they have their cable. I never offer to charge anybody's phones because I don't like dealing with the hassle. But I felt for the guy because I was that guy at one point.
This is the point where I feel like I should've thought something was up. The guy hands me what looks like a busted up prepaid phone you get from the supermarket, and what looked like a chewed up charger cable. I run to the back and go to charge it only to find out the cable wasn't compatible with the phone. I go back to them and notice they left without paying. I was more impressed than I was upset."
"This was probably about four years ago, in a joint called the Esquire Tavern on the River walk.
We had a street entrance as well as a river entrance, but from the river you had to walk up a really narrow metal staircase to our balcony. It barely had enough room for five small tables, including one that was tucked in a corner that made it hard to see from below.
Anyways, it was a slow summer lunch so I was doubling as a hostess, and this guy comes up from the river entrance and asks for a spot on the patio, specifically the hidden cramped one.
'No problem sir,' I say, and I get him set up.
We chat for a bit, I take his order, bring it out and go about my business - which was to passively watch him through the window because he was my only table and I wanted to keep an eye on him. I started to notice him suddenly ducking his head, as if he's trying not to be seen from the river level by someone. I remember pointing it out to another co-worker, who was just as curious as I was.
Then we heard a woman scream 'There you are Marcos, you piece of trash!'
I could hear the staircase shuddering as someone was clearly stomping their way up it, and my coworker astutely dipped out to find the manager. The lady started laying into this dude, and all I could make out was something about ditching her; all the while he's just ignoring her and calmly eating his buffalo burger, which made her snap.
She slapped the heck out of this dude, telling him to 'freaking acknowledge her,' and he simply got up, walked around her and came inside to sit at the bar. She then sits down and starts eating this poor man's meal like nothing is wrong! By this point though the manager is here and he goes outside and starts trying to kick her off the premises while I go talk to Marcos and figure out what's what.
We later found out the woman was his wife, and they had come downtown for lunch; she had a nasty habit of getting super messed up and belligerent which always ended up ruining their plans, including a wedding reception a few months prior. She refused to go get help, insisting that she'd keep her drinking to a minimum, and this was their first vacation since that incident.
They had stopped at a brunch place around the corner and she proceeded to have four drinks back to back. When she was ordering her 4th drink, he told her that she was already out of control, and that if she kept drinking he was going to close the tab and go eat lunch somewhere else, and that he'd meet her back at the hotel. She told him he was stupid and that he wasn't going anywhere.
So he got up, paid their bill, and walked out. I guess she thought he was putting up a front and was actually waiting outside for her, then realized he wasn't. She started running up and down the river looking for him; he just wanted to finish his burger in peace before dealing with her craziness. In the end, we had her ejected from the premises and my manager made him another burger on the house.
A year or so later, we saw him at the bar with a different woman. He divorced his wife and couldn't look happier."
"I remember serving one night, and this strange guy came in to sit at the bar. He was a little disheveled with an unkempt beard, he had trouble speaking, and he just generally seemed like someone you might imagine had difficulty socially or with dating. He had brought a bag in with him, and after he sat down, he pulled out a picture of a woman. He stood the picture up on the counter, in front of the chair beside him, and he ordered two drinks and his meal. One drink was for the 'woman,' and it ended up going untouched. A lot of my coworkers saw it and laughed about it in the kitchen, they thought it was the most pathetic thing they’d ever witnessed.
I thought something was a little off about the scene though, or that there was more to it than my coworkers were giving it credit for. He didn’t strike me as a desperate loner. There was an air of sadness around him, but not because he was pathetic. It felt more like grief. I talked to the bartender about it later, who actually knew the man. Apparently his wife had just passed, and this restaurant was where they went on their first date together years ago. His wife was the woman in the photo, and he came in to the restaurant to share one last drink with her."
"I (22 male at the time) was bus boy at a 200 seat restaurant that was part of a sporting club. I'd been there for long enough to have a feel for the personalities of the customers.
On this particular night, one of my tables was a first date. The girl was lovely, all smiles and very pleasant. The guy was sort of normal, seemed a bit quiet. He put off some fairly clear signals that he would prefer to be left alone though. That's OK, some prefer minimal service.
What I did notice though, was that the guy was talking to her quietly, but forcefully, and almost non-stop, sometimes gripping her arm firmly, in a way that suggested that she wouldn't be able to pull away easily. I couldn't hear a word that was said, but the lady was looking more and more terrified all the time. Like, nearly about to wet herself terrified. A complete change from her pleasant nature when they had walked in.
I told the waitress on the adjacent section that I wasn't sure about what was going on and asked if she wouldn't mind checking on the table to let me know her thoughts.
Waitress went to the table, said a few quick words and came back to me. Out of earshot, she said 'Yeah, I think we have to get her out of here.'
We let the managers know what was going on. The guy had booked his table. Good. We had his name.
Outside at the taxi rank, by some miracle, there was a female cabbie in the line. I ignored the protests of the other drivers. I hopped in and told the cabbie the situation, and offered her $20 to wait around the back of the restaurant.
I said, 'Please don't wait for a destination, just drive, something's really wrong with her date.'
The cabbie didn't need the 20 bucks.
We had the front desk call the guy over the PA for an 'urgent call'. This would delay him while they tried to figure what the 'call' was, and then 'realize' in that he had actually won a meat tray - they were raffled off at various intervals through the night.
'Just wait here while we fetch it for you!' we told him.
As soon as creepy guy was out of sight, I asked his date if she needed to get out of here. She just trembled and nodded. Figuring that she probably wasn't in the mood to trust a male at that point, my waitress friend took her though the kitchen and out to the waiting cab where she slipped away quick as you please.
The guy came back to an empty table, and staff seeming to be oblivious to where his lady friend had gone.
We didn't get much of the story, other than the lady was set up on a blind date by a mutual friend who told her that this guy was OK."
"I saw a first date next to me. In short, girl states she has an allergy to pineapple, guy says OK in a I don't believe you kinda way. At some point, he scraped some pineapple glaze off his dessert and onto her spoon when she popped outside to make a call. She comes back and eats without noticing too much, has a severe reaction.
Guy freaks out and tries to run but gets stopped by my girlfriend who is suspicious of him. Manager administers the girls epipen and ambulance and police are called. Absolute nightmare of a situation."
"I'm a waitress in my father's restaurant. It's not that big, but we're usually full during week-ends. A lot of couples come here cause it's kinda 'chic' for a French restaurant.
Anyway, once there was a couple, early 30s. The dude arrived earlier than the girl, so I thought it was something like a date but no. The girl ordered everything, she chose all the dishes, the dessert and even the drink without even asking the guy what he would like to have. They both didn't talk, only said good evening, weird for a date.
But when I came at their table to serve the drinks, they started to argue about their relationship. The dude was convinced that she cheated on him, and you know what, she admitted that and said very loud that he was bad in bed. At this moment, every single cell in my body was cringing. They kept arguing for 10 minutes until I decided to stop them, because they were almost yelling and so disturbing the ~15 people in the restaurant. The woman asked if she could have another bottle, and she left within five minutes with the bottle. I felt so bad for this guy that I gifted him his next drink."
"I was a waiter at a pretty high-end hotel restaurant. It was about three pm, and I was the only one on the floor as it was normally very slow at that time. There was only one party seated and it was a middle-aged man and woman. You could tell they weren’t married.
I went over and asked if they wanted anything to drink, and they both got mimosas I think. I went back with their drinks and asked if they were also planning on ordering food. They said yes, but that they’re in no rush and will let me know when they were ready to order.
About 15 minutes goes by when this man shows up at the front desk, starts looking around, yells, 'I freaking knew it, you brat!' and starts walking towards the couple sitting down.
The woman stands up and the guy remains seated. It became clear that the woman was having an affair with another man, and the husband came in to confront them. He grabbed her hand and walked her out but not before telling the man to 'Stay the heck away from my wife!'
The man remains seated at the table, turns to me and waves me over. I go over and he says in a perfectly calm tone, 'Cobb salad, please.'"
"I worked in a bar while I was in college, and I had a guy come in before his date and told me that when ever he ordered a drink, what he really wanted was Chardonnay. I must have given him an off look, because then he got embarrassed and confided in me that he was really in love with the woman meeting him there for the date. He told me how she usually dated guys that were more macho, and he didn't want to order Chardonnay in front of her, but if he ordered anything else he would make a face because he didn't like the taste. I felt pretty bad for the guy so I agreed. He seemed like a genuinely nice man, and I wanted to help him out. Well the woman this nice man was in love with was a total brat. She came in with two other women to their date, he mumbled something to me about maybe not being clear, and plastered a smile on his face.
The woman was extremely charismatic she was one of those life of the party women and the guy was very quiet. Anyways later in the evening, he ordered another 'drink' he had been doing this all night, only this time when I brought it to the table she insisted she wanted to try it. She said that she had never had this drink before. It was like watching a train wreck, he tried to stop her saying things like 'Here let me buy you a glass.'
Well, she took one sip and knew it was Chardonnay. I tried to help him by going over and apologizing, pretending it was my mistake, but she guessed the truth and started teasing him. Her friends joined in laughing as well. I felt awful and I could tell he was really embarrassed, even though he was laughing along. After a while he asked for the bill, I brought him the tab with his and the woman's portion and he told me he was paying for everyone. I felt so awful, the woman and her friends had all had so many drinks the tab was over 100 dollars, but I brought it and he tipped me 50 making me feel if possible more awful.
They were my last table, so I closed out with my manager and went back into the bar to have a drink with another girl that worked there. The group was still there so I decided to go over and ask to buy him a drink. I just wanted to I don't know help him or something. Make him look good and possibly make that woman jealous. Well I went over there and asked if I could buy him a drink. He smiled at me, got up from his chair, and took me aside. He told me I was very beautiful, but I was too young to be hitting on men old enough to be my father. I almost explained to him that I was just trying to help him, but decided not to. I figured that he could use the ego boost after that 'date.'"