Welcome back to Behind Closed Ovens, where we take a look at the best and strangest stories from inside the food industry. Our theme this week is customers whose behavior was so bizarre that their servers had to wonder if they were being Punk'd, including one legendary customer henceforth known as White Tiger.
As always, these are real e-mails from real readers.
"I used to work at a modern fusion Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Vancouver which was pretty popular. It was surrounded by hotels, so we would often get people who call in for pick-up. So one busy Saturday night, a man called in and I took his order, which went a little something like this:
Man: Hi, I'd like to make an order for pick-up. Chicken wings, lettuce wraps and beef leaf wraps.
Me: Just to confirm, chicken wings, lettuce wraps and beef leaf wraps, is that all for you?
Man: What the hell do you mean is that all for me?
Me: Uh — just confirming your order to see if I have that correct.
Man: You are incredibly disrespectful!
Me: I beg your pardon?
Man: I'm willing to spend money at YOUR restaurant and you have the audacity to ask me "if that's all I'm getting."
He immediately hangs up. I tell my boss what happened and she shakes her head confused. The phone rings again, my boss picks up and it's the same man again, she turns the phone over so that I can hear.
Man: Hello, I just called into make an order and one of your servers was incredibly rude. She insinuated that I wasn't spending enough money.
My boss: That was definitely not her intention, she just wanted to make sure that she had your order right.
Man: Fine. Are you even full Vietnamese?
My boss: I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but yes I am.
The man seems to calm down and makes an order with her. Twenty five minutes later, he comes in, was a pretty good looking guy in his thirties and greeted everyone kindly. He sits down and orders a beer while his food was being wrapped up, enjoying the atmosphere. Out of nowhere, he gets up and screams "ALL OF YOU FUCKING CANADIAN GIRLS ARE THE SAME, STUCK UP BITCHES!" slams his beer on the table, grabs his food and slams the door. The restaurant goes dead silent and the servers are left to clean up the broken glass and beer scattered all over the bar. Five minutes later the phone starts to ring and it's the guy again. One of my co-workers pick up the phone.
Man: Hello? Is this the c*** who just took my order?
My coworker: Excuse me?
Man: You're a dumb c***!
My co-worker hangs up, and the man proceeds to call another fifteen times until we called the cops (turns out he was calling from the hotel next door). Cops paid him a visit, and they told us he was going to be ejected from the hotel as he was apparently aggressive to the staff."
Kinja user SylviaBloodBath:
"Once while working at a fast food tex-mex place, a young woman came in and asked for a bag. As I was handing it to her I complimented a bracelet she was wearing and we started chatting. During the chat I mentioned that I had a cat. Now, this cat has been my baby for 13 years, and the day before I had just found out that she had some serious digestive issues that meant she might have to have been put down soon (it has since been over a year and she's still going strong, so hooray!). The woman leans in and says, "Let me ask you a question, do you like music?" Now in my opinion this is like asking if someone likes air, because seriously, what person doesn't like music?? So when she asked, I was like, "Yeeesss?" She immediately got excited. "Oh, I knew it! I knew it! You are a [weird sounding word I don't remember]. That means that God's message can't get through to you if animals are around you. You need to get rid of your cat."
Startled, I replied, "Oh, I don't think you understand, I've had for forever. She's actually really sick. I could never get rid of her."
She smiled understandingly. "You know, I used to date this guy I thought I loved. Everyone told me he was no good for me, but I wouldn't listen. Finally one day I heard God's message, and I broke up with him, and I've never been happier. You will see, with God everything is better."
Still stupefied, I responded, "I really don't think my sick cat is comparable to a crappy boyfriend..."
She just kept smiling and patiently explaining over and over again that God needed me to abandon my sick cat, like yesterday, until I finally gave up and was just like "Yup. Get rid of the cat. Sure. Totally. OK," until she left, smiling beatifically. Definitely one of the weirder encounters I've had."
"When I was in my early 20's I worked at a restaurant chain attached to a huge mall which closed at 1 AM. One night about fifteen minutes before closing time a man came into the empty restaurant by himself. It was just our manager, me, and one other guy working on the floor. We had to serve him because we weren't technically closed yet.
I should mention at this point that he was wearing an all-white matching track suit which he had taken a black Sharpie marker to the back of and written "WHITE TIGER" across his shoulders.
Anyway, I played a quick game of Rock Paper Scissors with the other server and, luckily, won, so I didn't have to serve him. I sat back on the bar side, watched my co-worker take his order. My co-worker then came back to the kitchen and, laughing, said that White Tiger had ordered for himself, then pointed across the table and ordered a "pizza for Bob, Mike was going to get the wings, Larry was having a Caesar salad." I want to stress again: there was ONE PERSON at this table. Despite that, White Tiger was in full conversation with people who weren't there the entire time he was in the restaurant. When the food came out he continued talking animatedly while reaching across the table and eating all the food himself.
We all watched him from the bar side. As we shut the music off and turned the lights all the way on, we hoped he would get the hint and wrap it up so we could go home. As soon as the food was almost gone, he started getting quiet and shifty. My manager called it: this guy was going to try a Dine and Dash in an empty restaurant. He got up and tried exiting the building around the bar but our manager cut him off. He simply said he was looking for the bathroom, which he was then directed to. When my manager turned around, White Tiger made a mad dash for the courtyard and took off into the front entrance. This is where my co-worker cut him off. White Tiger then pulled a black sock filled with pennies out of his pocket and swung it around his head like a cowboy with a lasso, then took a swing at the co-worker who'd been his server. When my co-worker easily backed away and dodged it, White Tiger threw the sack at the manager and took off running across the parking lot.
My manager tripped and fell during the chase, but my co-worker managed to catch up and tackle White Tiger to the ground. That's when mall security conveniently showed up. They called the police, who were there almost immediately, and arrested White Tiger for assaulting my manager with a sock filled with pennies. While the cop car was driving away from us he stuck his head out the window and was spelling out websites, yelling it out all the way down the street: "W.W.W.-Dot-W.A.N.T.T.O.K.N.O.W......"
The funniest part is, we got to watch the surveillance video of the "assault" up in the mall security's office afterwards. When they played it back, they were so fired up, giving us the blow by blow: "He's about to throw the sack. Here it comes, here it comes! Aaawww!!! There it is."
No one pressed charges."
Do you have a crazy restaurant story you'd like to see appear in Behind Closed Ovens? Please e-mail WilyUbertrout@gmail.com with "Behind Closed Ovens" in the subject line. Submissions are always welcome!
Image via Kjersti Joergensen/Shutterstock.