Welcome back to Behind Closed Ovens, where we take a look at the best and strangest stories from inside the food industry. This week we bring you stories about customers who, thanks to Jesus, did not seem to be on a 1:1 basis with reality. As always, these are real stories from real readers.
"I worked at a 50's diner in the Denver area for about five years. One time I had a table of a mother and two sons who preached at me their entire meal about the wickedness of my ways and the need to repent. I nodded politely, mentally rolled my eyes, and that was that.
Two weeks later, they came back. A different server had them and came up to me while I was ringing in an order, then leaned in and shoved a credit card in my face. It was one of those cards that you can personalize, and it was a picture of two blonde haired boys smiling in a meadow. When I asked the server for an explanation this is what I got:
Server: "My table said you gave them the brush off when they talked to you about God."
Server: "They wanted you to know that this little boy died and is with Jesus now. They said he's watching you and knows about your sins."
Me: "My sins?"
Mother (from across the restaurant, yelling): "He knows! He sees everything!"
I am still unsure as to whether she meant Jesus or the creepy ghost kid who apparently watches me sin."
"This story takes place at a chain coffee shop that isn't Starbucks — more woodland-themed. I'd been working there for a year and a half, but I was barely sixteen and totally incompetent at making drinks, so the powers that be usually stuck me behind the register.
Teenaged register girls are, as it turns out, a magnet for lonely, angry or otherwise disaffected people. I say 'people' because often the individuals who came up to make conversation or tell me my company was 'owned by the Saudis' did not in fact wind up buying anything.
My favorite of these non-customers, though, had to be the small old woman who toddled into the shop that day. She was holding something - a long white tube? My co-worker and I watched her make her way to the counter. In response to "What can we get you?" she held out the tube and whispered, "The lion is Jesus."
As she walked out the door, I unrolled the Chronicles of Narnia poster. Aslan stared at me. "I'm an allegory," he roared."
"For several summers and winter vacations during my college days, I worked at a Chinese restaurant in my home town in Colorado. While it was a Chinese restaurant with a Taiwanese owner, the waitstaff, myself included, was overwhelmingly white or latino due to the demographics of the town we lived in. For the most part, what we looked like was never an issue with the clientele, but we had a few rare gems who had a hard time processing the fact that their General Tso's was being served by a white chick.
In one particularly notable incident, I was working the swing shift between lunch and dinner. A party of 10 came in — three mothers with seven young children between them, probably all under the age of 8. Everything went smoothly until I was clearing their dishes and boxing up their leftovers (something we always did table-side to avoid accusations that we did anything untoward with the food). One of the little girls, probably around age 5, suddenly looked pointedly at me and asked me point blank, "Miss, do you believe in Jesus?"
Now, this is a perfectly innocent question, but as an agnostic in my most faithful of moments, I was a little taken aback. In the couple of seconds in which I fumbled around for an age and context-appropriate response, the little girl's mother solved the problem for me. She patted her precocious daughter on the arm and replied "Oh honey, of course she believes in Jesus. She's Chinese. They've been saved."
At that point, I simply walked my stunned, white, blonde self away from the table. There was really nothing to say, even if I'd been able to find the words. I'm not sure I will ever understand that one."
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!
Also, I am choosing to refer to this header image as Sky Jesus. You sail on into that sunrise, Sky Jesus.
Image via iurii/Shutterstock.