Ah, Valentine’s Day! Supposedly the most romantic day of the year. However, it dumps a whole bunch of stress on our shoulders. Even if we pretend we’re above all the consumerism, hype, and cheesiness. It’s also one the most disaster-prone days of the year, as plenty waiters who have seen these disasters firsthand can attest to.
Reddit user Hamsternoir turned to the online community and asked waiters to share these stories firsthand. We bring you some of the very best responses that will make you chuckle, cringe, and might even help you avoid a pitfall or two. Scroll down, enjoy Bored Panda’s interview with Hamsternoir, upvote your fave Valentine’s Day disaster stories, and share your own if you have any.
This was relayed to me by a close friend
Older Woman, probably in her upper 90's with her teen-aged grandson at a semi classy restaurant. She was dressed to the nines and the grandson was in a nice button up and dress slacks. As they got seated at their table the grandson placed a framed photo of what my friend assumed was the boys grandfather and husband of the older women.
Found out it would have been their 70th wedding anniversary but he had passed suddenly but peacefully a few months back. The grandfather had always wanted to take her to a nice restaurant but never had the time or money to do it. So the grandson saved up his pay from the last couple of months and even got some donations from other relatives and took her to the restaurant. They ate dinner remembering all the good times with the man. They had my friend to take a picture and she did. They tipped my friend very well.
By happenstance my friend ran into the young man some weeks later to find out the grandmother passed away a few days after that night, peacefully in her sleep holding a photo of her beloved husband. He was so happy he could make that night special to her. Said it was the only day he saw her smile since his grandfather passed away. He got the picture they took at the restaurant printed in wallet sized and carried it around with him in his wallet.
I was the manager of a wings-and-pizza place with a full bar - definitely not the kind of place you'd take someone for a "romantic" Valentine's Day dinner, but it was still busy because some people aren't very tactful. We had a guy who had called ahead and asked if we could put a ring in a dessert for him and of course, we obliged. He dropped the ring off the day ahead and I put it in the safe in our office to keep it secure. Fast forward to Valentine's Day. The couple shows up, and they're so obviously in love that she didn't seem to notice or care about the fact that he had brought her to a middle-of-the road place with a sports-bar atmosphere on the most romantic day of the year. They ordered champagne (well, the local winery's best sparkling white), entrees, and it was almost time for dessert. I had used my Chef skills to whip up a special chocolate strawberry tart that wasn't on the menu, just for this occasion (because why not try to make their night at least a little fancy?) I went to the safe to get the ring, and... It wasn't there. I was freaking out big time. I asked everyone there if they knew what the f*** had happened to it. My assistant manager on-site had no idea, so I called my other assistant (who also had the safe code) and they didn't know, either. Finally, my bar manager mentioned that one of the owners had been in earlier, and spent a little time in the office. So, at my wit's end, I called the owner. It turns out that he had seen the ring in the safe, and thought it was something a customer had left behind. Figuring that he had come into an extremely lucky situation, he decided (like the scumbag he was) that he'd take it for himself and save money on a gift for his wife on Valentine's. So, I asked the server and bar manager to help stall the couple. The server told them that we were going to do something special for their big date, and to hold tight. I ran out, hopped in my car, and rushed to get the ring from the owner's house (because he was - as I had mentioned - a scumbag, and didn't want to be bothered with bringing the ring to the restaurant himself). The bar manager went over to the table, and did some complicated, table-side cocktail mix that had a bunch of flair bartending tricks and ended with a flaming shot that, once dropped into the rest, made it smoke (I was really disappointed when I heard about all of this because I would have loved to see it instead of breaking a ton of traffic laws on my quest to get the ring). Finally, I rushed back in after about 15 minutes of being on the brink of a heart attack, placed the ring on the dessert, and had their server take it out. At that point, just about the entire staff was watching the table, and when we saw the look on her face, my heart finally started beating again. She said "Yes." And, I started looking for someone else to work for the very next day.
I blew my cars tire and my friend came in to bail me out. Were both straight dudes and forgot it was valentines. Decided to have dinner and both were coming from important meeting so had suits on. We didnt catch on until the end on how the entire wait staff thought we were just the cutest gay couple.
According to Hamsternoir, they’d been talking to their other half about some bad Valentine’s day experiences in the past and this inspired them to turn to Reddit and hear everyone else’s stories. “Never thought it would take off the way it did, but clearly there's a lot of stories needing to be told.”
According to the redditor, “Valentine’s Day has always put couples under pressure, especially if the relationship is young.”
“Now, with social media, the pressure to perform seems even higher with people watching,” they added, highlighting that the pressure to do romantic things on Valentine’s day and to share them with everyone on the internet is bigger now than before. In other words, when we see _everybody_ going nuts about Valentine’s Day on social media, we can’t help but want to follow the crowd. It’s a very human instinct.
There was a note in our reservations that it was an engagement, they wanted champagne, a specific seat, bunch of other stuff. The server comes up to the table with something like "so I read we're celebrating an engagement, congratulations". Confusion from the woman; glaring from the guy. He hadn't proposed yet. She ruined it.
It was like a movie. I was bartending at an italian restaurant (not a fancy one, but still) and it's pretty much full of valentines dates. A guy walks in and sits at the bar by himself, looking pretty down. He asked for a whiskey, so I poured it, told him it was on the house because he looked like he needed it. He proceeds to tell me his story: he had come to the city to surprise his girlfriend for Valentines (about a 5 hr bus trip between cities) and he sure surprised her. She was in her dorm room f***ing one of his friends from high school. He didn't know what to do, so he just walked into the first place that sold alcohol. I spilled as much whiskey as he wanted and watched the raptors with him. Never saw him again. It's cliche, but it happened.
I was working as a waitress in a Sushi restaurant and Valentine's Day was an all-hands-on-deck shift. This guy I had just started seeing wanted to go out, but I told him that working in food service, you never get Valentine's Day off and we'd just have to celebrate the day after or the weekend after.
Nope. He got so upset that he went and asked a different girl out, came to the restaurant I worked at on V-Day and sat in MY SECTION. He then proceeded to spend the entire evening making a fool out of himself and making his date uncomfortable as he tried to make me jealous.
Needless to say we didn't go out again. Ever.
Hamsternoir told Bored Panda that there are some things that couples going on their first date on Valentine’s Day can do to reduce the pressure and to manage their expectations. “Don't take things too seriously or expect the date to go as it was planned in your head.”
“It’s probably better just getting pizza and a bottle of something and then go out for a date that has personal meaning like your wedding anniversary, it'll be cheaper unless you got married on February 14th!” Those are some words of wisdom! It’s always better to have lower expectations and ending up pleasantly surprised than being hyped up and crashing down.
I worked at a pretty high end Mediterranean Bistro, my second Valentine's there it was probably the busiest night I've ever worked as a server. We had reservations that booked basically the entire restaurant including the bar and patio from 4 P.M to 11:00 P.M. No walk-ins were to be seated unless a reservation was cancelled, or someone with a reservation didn't show up. Most of the customers were pretty understanding and either waited or simply left. One dude however kept pushing and pushing asking every 10 minutes how much longer until he is seated, constantly saying how he is a regular customer; and how his date is going to be there at 7 (he got there at 6). We insisted that once a table was available, and all the customers before him we're seated, he would get a table, but because the amount of reservations we couldn't guarantee he would even get a table at all. At about 6:50 the guy loses it, fast-walks up to the hostess stand where the reservation book is, grabs the reservation book and practically runs out the front door. Now everything is going to complete s**t because the only copy of the reservations for the night that is barely half over is gone. Two of the owners ran outside to follow the guy and try and get the book back, but by the time they got out he had already left the parking lot. Even better is, two hours later, chaos is still running rampant and the dude shows back up saying he has a reservation for two. Three of the five of the owners (all brothers) escorted the dude and his date out to the parking lot and banned him from the restaurant permanently. They even took a picture of him and posted it in the window saying "Do Not Serve This Man"
I walked up to a table and was about to drop off the bill, caught the end of "it's over." Guy looked at me dead in the eye and said to "split that f***in check, right now."
Bus boy on Las Vegas Strip,
An attempted proposal.
Dude tries to set up sign with gf's friends for her to show up and see the ring near a fountain. Duck stole the ring, they found it 2 hours later as he dropped in the fountain. She still said yes.
Free drinks where given.
Meanwhile, PsychCentral has some extra bits of advice for Valentine’s Day. It’s vital that both partners have similar expectations for this day: if one of you’s madly in love while the other is just starting to open up, you’re both at different stages of the relationship.
What’s more, you shouldn’t expect your partner to be a completely different person just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Oh, and if you plan to propose on February the 14th, make _absolutely_ sure that they’ll say “yes.” Otherwise, you’ll ruin all Valentine’s Days to come for yourself.
Back when I served food at one of those super touristy seafood restaurants, I worked a Valentine’s Day double shift. For lunch, this younger couple came in celebrating their one year anniversary. I offer my congratulations and proceed to do my usual spiel before taking orders. The girl is looking more and more dismayed the longer I talk. Finally I get to the end and ask if there are any allergies. She looks directly at her boyfriend and states, “yes I’m allergic to fish and shellfish.” Then looks over at me very sad.
I made sure every aspect of her meal was fine for her. But It was that look of “we’ve been dating a year and he still takes me to a restaurant that could kill me” that really did it for me.
In college I waited tables and Valentine’s Day was always a good one in terms of tips.
I once saw a couple come in to eat, halfway through the dinner the mans wife shows up to surprise the couple. The wife took the wine bottle and poured the remnants on the husbands head, took off her ring and told the girlfriend she could have him.
He tipped me a $100
Happened to my poor co-worker;
A guy and his date came in for Valentines Day. They had a great time, ate a lot of food, drank a lot of wine, and got along really well with my co-worker who was their server.
About two months later they come back in and request my co-worker again, who happily says yes to serving them. He goes up and greets them, the guy introduces his wife to him, and my co-worker mentions something about how much he enjoyed serving them on Valentines Day. They go quiet. Wife gets up and leaves, guy just lowers his head.
Turns out he had brought his mistress in on Valentines Day, but my co-worker didn’t realize he was with a different woman this time around so didn’t think anything of it. We never saw the guy again.
I have one from a different perspective. I was serving at The Melting Pot and a 4 top came in, two M/F couples that were sat in the section next to mine. About 10 minutes after them sitting down, I notice that they don’t have drinks yet, not even waters. We were backed up but they at least should’ve had water. I checked in with their server and he said he was totally backed up, so I offered to get their drink orders. I took them, put them in, and ran them for the server. By this point they should’ve been on their second course (salad), but hadn’t even had their cheese yet (first course), so I check in with their server again and end up offering to take the table because they’re so behind. They say sure and thank me. The table finishes drinks and dinner and give me a huge verbal tip, even asking me to get my manager so they can tell him how well I did. I was bracing for a 0%-10% tip... the one dude who paid left me a 400% tip ($1,000.00).
I used to be a waiter in a 5 star restaurant it was my first week. One guy was about to propose it was obvious by how much he was sweating he was drenched. I tried to make them both relax. They went on to finish up their meal. As soon as the cake arrived he then went on one knee, she stood up suddenly he vomited right on her high heels. After the shock of what just happened she still ended up saying yes
Not a TOTAL disaster, but still not good.
Had a table of two people, probably in their mid 40s last year. Took 45 minutes for this couple to get their entrees due to our kitchen being way too slammed. When they were dropped at the table, they immediately asked for to-go boxes because they told their babysitter they’d be home by a certain time. I overheard the wife say “well I guess this is why we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day”. The worst part was that they weren’t angry, just... very sad.
My personal feelings about dining out on Valentine’s Day aside, I felt so horrible that this couple clearly had put in an effort to have a nice night with each other only to have it go that way. (We comp’d their meals, btw).
I was eating in a fine dining establishment (Chili's) several years ago. In the next booth was a really young guy who had a big bunch of roses on the seat next to him.
He kept looking at his watch, looking at the roses, and popping open a ring box for a peek at the ring.
He did this for a half hour or so, then began calling and texting someone (presumably his girlfriend) over and over.
As we were waiting for our check, he hands my wife the roses, mumbled something, and walked out.
Depends on who you ask as to wether or not this is a disaster. Place I worked at in college was a pretty nice establishment and a romantic destination because our view overlooked the entire city. It was also located at the top of a five star hotel that had several projectors cycling through what was going on around the hotel in the lobby. There was no footage from the gym or pool so it was relatively tame and never a privacy issue. Best you’d ever get were people eating, walking around the lobby or drinking at the bar. Anyway guy walks in with his wife and asked to be seated in a secluded area. Well you can imagine since it’s busy and Valentine’s Day we didn’t have those, so he basically waited an extra hour to make sure he was seated in the back corner. It’s my section, I take their drink order and take care of them though the husband was gone when I returned and I didn’t see him go to the bathroom. Thinking nothing of it I go to the bar to get the drink and see ALL of my coworkers huddled around the monitor above the bar along with everyone else in there. Sure enough I found the husband as he was underneath the table going down on his wife. Only problem was the camera above their table had a clear view because it was situated in the corner. So now the entire hotel lobby can see as it cycles between us in the bar laughing, people checking in and our romantic couple dining on each other. More and more people start to notice and the bar fills up. This includes back of the house staff like dishwashers and the line cooks. Eventually it also brings out my manager who runs over to their table, tells them what happened and they both run out mortified. But before they do the husband tries to stand up too quickly and flips the table, ruining all the plates while also exposing that his fly was down and his d*** is out. He’s yelling at my manager, the hotel manager (who came up when he saw it in the lobby) and security unzipped as he’s escorted out. So yes disaster for them but man they made a lot of people laugh that night
Not waitstaff, but I used to work Front Desk at a hotel. One Valentine’s Day I was working the night shift, and this woman comes down with a cut above her eye looking like she just went a few rounds in the ring with a boxer. Woman starts sobbing and asks us to call the coos which we do immediately. Turns out this girl’s boyfriend just beat the s**t out of her during a fight, and from what I could tell this probably wasn’t the first time. So after the cops show up and haul the dude off, my manager offers her a different room on comp as we need to leave the guy’s stuff where it is for him to pick up the next day. She accepts, and I go up with the woman to help her collect her stuff and move to the new room. There were a bunch of bottles of alcohol in the room, and she donated them to the front desk staff. I got a bottle of Hypnotiq, and some vodka. Manager got a bottle of Patron. Cherry on top of everything, the dude’s wife called later that night saying someone had stolen his card as he was out of town on a business trip. Never one to defend an abuser, I told her where she could find her husband. Fun times.
A nice lady brought her kid in for dinner. Got seated at a table next to her husband and his mistress.
I was working for a higher end chain steakhouse in the North West corner of greater Los Angeles (in the valley). Valentines is obviously one of the top 5 busiest days of the year for us, we did about 500 covers between 5 and 10 PM. It’s also a restaurant with a very open concept floor plan. Booths along the 4 walls of the restaurant and an array of tables in the middle with no partitions or anything between them. A younger couple (maybe mid 20’s) dressed to the nines came in shortly after we opened and were seated in a table basically in the dead center of the dining room. They were very friendly and pleasant and I could tell that for them, dining at our restaurant was a really special treat so I did everything in my power to make it special for them. When they’re done, probably around 7, I brought their check which was around $300. When I came back to pick it up the guy had a super embarrassed look on his face and he said he thinks he left his wallet in the car and the woman, who is embarrassed for him, doesn’t have anything with her because her dress had no pockets and she didn’t bring a purse. So he goes out and 5 minutes later comes back in looking pale as a ghost. He has left his wallet at home and asks if he can call back later with payment info. My GM won’t let this fly because there’s no collateral of any sort he can leave, so the guy has to drive home TO BURBANK to get his wallet while the woman waits, with her hair done and her red lipstick and her pretty dress, In The middle of the dining room on Valentine’s Day. Now, on the best day with no traffic (never happens) it’s at least 40 minutes each way from our restaurant to Burbank. She was there for almost 2 hours waiting for this guy. We were all so embarrassed for her that the staff kept discreetly slipping her drinks and little amuse bouche bites from the kitchen. It was one of the most awkward things I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. When he finally got back he was super apologetic to us and to her, he paid the check and tipped like 30% and they left. It was pretty obvious it was an honest mistake but I still think about that couple from time to time and wonder how things worked out for them.
Not a waiter, but in my strip club bouncer days we had one of our regulars get suited up and bring flowers in one V-day to try and woo one of the dancers. It did not work.
Pro-tip: If every time y'all hang out it involves you giving her money, she is not in to you.
Ex Barista here, hope that is close enough. Some guy on Valentine Day came in and asked us to write on the cup "will you marry me?". It did not go well.
She looked at the cup while he went down on one knee. She said nothing, put the cup back down and just walked away shaking her head.
He, on the other hand, got pissed and started to rant about how she should have gotten over him sleeping with her sister already. . . . we had to ask him to leave.
A few years ago, I had finished my shift at a pub I was working at, and sat at the bar with a drink. There were still a few couples sat in the restaurant, but the boss let me clock off early. I had a pint before leaving, and at a table near by, it sounded like a proposal was about to happen, a few people went quiet listening in. Then, it happened.
Guy: "Hannah, will you marry me?" He was kneeled in front of his girlfriend, her sat down. Girl: "Hannah? Who the **** is Hannah?" She yelled, threw her drink at him and walked out.
Guy paid and walked out, looking very red.
A guy did a backflip and asked a girl to be his valentine... she declined. I walked up to him and asked if he was fine, he said it took him a week to perfect.
Two failed marriage proposals on the same Valentine's Day.
The first one simply said "no I can't do this," and walked out.
The second one stared like a deer frozen in the headlights for an excruciating 30 seconds before muttering "let's talk about this later." They stayed for the rest of their 6-course V-day special dinner, eating and making painful small talk.
While working at a sushi bar in college I witnessed a blind Valentine's day date where the guy who showed up was already the girls ex-boyfriend.
Not my story, but a co-worker (which happens to be my cousin) told me this story.
One day a guy enters the taco restaurant were we worked at, he was a waiter so he goes on to bring the menu to the table. The guy (20 ish) says he's waiting for someone, so he's gonna wait to order a full meal, but as waiters we are taught to insist a little more and sell something. So the guy finally orders the cheapest item on the menu (a small carne asada taco, just one). A few hours went by, the dude's date still hadn't arrived, and every 20 or so minutes he would order another one of those small tacos. Eventually the owner of the place, who is a really cool dude and has been a friend of my family for years, tells the waiters "look at this poor sucker, if the girl never arrives, I'll pay for everything he has ordered myself"
So another hour and a half goes by and this dude finally gives up and asks for the check. He looked pretty sad so as a waiter of his age, my cousin told him everything he consumed was on the house. He smiled and left good tips anyway.
Stay strong guys (or gals) if she/he has you waiting that long, she/he's probably not worth it anyways.
A 16 year old boy proposed to a 15 year old girl with a cheap ring in the whipped cream of her dessert. She said yes.
I set my hair on fire and spilled a full Stella on a lady. I work in a causal fine dinning steak house. Luckily for me, the lady I spilled the Stella on was super understanding and her husband said from across the table “well now she has to take her pants off”. Sooo that could have gone worse for me.
Old man proposed to old woman. He tried to get off the chair to kneel, tripped and fell and I assume broke something since he couldnt get back up and we had to call an ambulance. My manager had to drive her teeth to the hospital separately because she had taken them out to eat her soup (lord knows why) and left them on the table in the confusion.
Small, fine dining restaurant: Man from my table goes to the restroom and is gone for a while (probably 10 minutes? Which for a restaurant is a while). As I’m passing by the restroom he’s all “PSSSS!” Ushering me to the side and hurriedly whispering that he needs to leave through the kitchen because his wife’s best friend was sat near he and his date, who of course as I learn then and there is not his wife. We box the remaining courses up and do a walk of shame through the kitchen. He’s pissed, she’s crying, all while the rest of us are stifling our laughter. He ended up tipping well on the prix-fixe, which was nice.
These two were on a date and the guy went to go use the bathroom, The girl just up and leaves after he went to the restroom. When the guy came back he sat around for awhile until asking his waitress where she went. She replied with saying that she left. The guy then asked the waitress if she would go on a date with him. The waitress said no.
A Girl that I worked with went to lunch on Valentines day at an expensive restaurant her boyfriend had gotten a reservation for, she got dressed up nice was was going on about how sure she was that he was going to propose.
He broke up with her.
Had a man and woman sharing dessert and the man playfully put a bit of the ice cream on her nose she then did the same and he did it back once more but with a different flavour of ice cream. She the flipped out at him because “you know I like chocolate the most why would you waste it you idiot”. In the end she stormed out cause the man couldn’t comprehend how much she was blowing up the situation.
My first day of work on the floor at a country club was the weekend after Valentine’s Day. There was a lot of buzz in the back about this adorable family, where every year the mom brought the son out to a nice dinner at the club and the father brought the daughter to the men’s section for a dinner (which shows how much pull the guy had, since women weren’t allowed in that part of the club). It was their Valentine’s Day tradition. The kids are both ~14 or 15.
I’d also been filled in on the gossip that the waitress I replaced had left to have a baby. She was really young and there was blanket disapproval from the staff and a lot of the members.
I’m serving the mom and son in the more upscale dining room, but getting drinks from the bar where the dad and daughter are, so I’m around both groups.
I’m bringing a bottle of wine to the mom when a woman walks in with a baby in a carrier and starts handing personalized golf balls out to people as a birth announcement sort of thing. She hands one to the mom at the table and one to the son and walks off when the mom knocked her wine glass to the floor and starts whisper-shouting at the son.
People are congratulating the new mom, and pretending to be friendly, and then each table seems to go perfectly quiet one after another.
I go to the bar to get a new wine glass and see a man duck over to the dad’s table and say something to him. The man gets up without saying a word, (even to his daughter) and dashes into the men’s locker room, leaving her sitting at the table.
The whole room goes quiet, but nobody intervenes as the old waitress goes over to the table, hands the girl a golf ball, says a few words I can’t hear then walks out of the club. The girl starts sobbing.
Eventually, the mom seems to have remembered the daughter, because the brother comes and leads her out, and they all leave together.
When I was clearing the table, I read the golf ball, which says:
Waitress +Member(dad) present
Baby first name and member’s last name
And the date.
Soho, NYC, V Day 2009. Mid service, guy in a cheesy jacket comes in with a full mariachi band, takes a knee in the middle of the restaurant, and proposes to one of the servers with a ring..the entire restaurant is watching, staff and guests alike. She instantly says no, mortified, and leaves the floor sobbing. The band continues to play while he half-hearted pursues her, but is stopped by the manager as he tries to enter the kitchen after her. He exits shamefully while the band plays him off. Band sticks around for beers at the bar.
Turns out he was her ex, they hadn't spoken in over a year and this was his attempt to win her back. We got drinks and laughed about it after service, and she banged the bartender later.
Not my table, but back in my Olive Garden days, we had a man who looked to be in his mid-20s tap his empty wine glass with a fork to call for attention of the surrounding strangers, then get down on one knee with silver band in hand , and ask his girlfriend/date to “accept this promise ring.”
She looked horrified start to finish.
Worked at a chain bbq restaurant, was a line cook but could see in the dinning room. Had a lady and her kids(early teens) come in turn to be seated. She started to freak out, crying, yelling and left. Turns out the table in the corner was her husband and another lady in a date.
Younger couple came in for what I can only assume was a first date. Ordered a pizza but never ate, caught up in conversation I guess? Guy must’ve been feeling confident bc about 2 hours in he gets up, goes to the bathroom, and then decides to sit next to her in the booth rather than across from her where he was before.
I swear to you she then got up and used the restroom about 10 minutes later, and when she came back, decided it would best if they didn’t sit next to each other and sat in his original place.
Please refrain from doing this.
I was a hosting at a really busy brunch place and Valentine's Day was one of our busiest days. We had a full waitlist with tons of people in the lobby when this dude walks on with this huge teddy bear and a bouquet of roses. He said he wanted to drop them off for my coworker so I let her know he was there but understandably she was running around so it took a bit. While waiting, a bunch of folks waiting for tables complimented him on how sweet he was to do that for his girlfriend and how jealous they were. It was kind of cute. When my coworker finally was able to come up front there was a lot of "awww" and such. Again, we were slammed so she ran back after taking the items and it was back to work for all of us. When it died down, I asked her how long she was dating her boyfriend for and she replied. "He's not my boyfriend. He was the salesman where I just bought my car and I think he got my workplace from the paperwork." That was pretty f***ing disturbing.
mid1980s: A couple enjoyed a meal at a 2 top that I waited on. All was well, but midway through dinner the area began to smell like someone farted. It did not go away. The man complained, and I apologized, noting that it wasn't the restaurant and there was little I could do. The woman tried to calm the man down, but he asked for the check early, demanded a discount [which we gave him] and stiffed me on the tip. They left. The woman left a skid mark of s**t on her chair.
They came in at lunch the day after, so it was pretty empty but it was still for a Valentine’s Day date. They were both pretty nice at the beginning, the guy asked for a picture and whatnot. As the meal went on, the dude got progressively drunker and by the time I brought the check out, the woman was gone. When the dude gave me his card, he said “I’ll give you a bit of advice. If you’re taking a girl out to break up with her, do it at a McDonald’s and not an expensive restaurant”.
Not a waiter but I was a pastry chef at this big resort in cape cod. We got a special order from this guy who was coming in for his anniversary ( Valentine's day). He wanted his desert to have "Will you marry me?" written on it so he could pop the question when it came out. He called ahead to the front and back kitchen, even came in himself that morning to make sure it was good to go. The whole crew was behind him. We had cooks all night coming in the ask if it had happened yet. I wrote the inscription on the plate and dressed it to the nines with gold leaf and expensive chocolate. I'm taking a picture of the plate just before it's set to go out and notice our head waiter come in with a weird look on his face. He says plainly "They don't need it"
She broke up with him before the entrees hit the table.
I saw a couple have a full blown argument in the middle of the restaurant. The woman stood up, took her ring off, threw it at him and walked out. The man continued his meal, had dessert and then paid the bill, left a pretty big tip for the inconvenience and left!
A guy proposed to his girlfriend and she said "no". The guy threw his arms up and ran out of the building.. Later, while waiting for someone to pick her up, she told us it was completely out of the blue, because they'd only been dating for a few months...
Another V-Day, a guy raised a HUGE fuss over the fact that we wouldn't serve liquor to his under-aged girlfriend.
I used to be a waitress in a small hotel. A couple were eating in the restaurant and they had quite a lot to drink. The guy was really nice and funny when they had initially arrived. However, I could tell their conversation had soured by the time I was bringing out their desserts. They then went up to their room and had a massive bust up. He was screaming at her, she was wailing and I could hear him knocking her around. I was an 18 year old girl at the time, I was bloody terrified. I ran and got the spare key and screamed for the owner (only male member of staff) to come and help me. I immediately unlocked the door and she was on the floor with her head bleeding. I reached for her and he grabbed her out of my arms and chucked her across the bedroom, her head hitting the side table. He then threatened to kill both of us. He barged passed me and ran out of the hotel. It certainly wasn’t my best Valentines shift.
Not a waitress, but my family and I witnessed a couple argue with one another in a "Carrabbas" some years ago when Valentines was on a weekend day. When the waiter asked for their order, the woman snaps at him "Go away mf!" The husband apologizes quickly and demanded that his wife apologize, but she refuses. The argument was over the wife's gambling debts or something of that nature. My father went over to them, yells at them for being "idiotic and disturbing everyone else." Now, you do not want to irritate my father when he wants a nice dinner with his family.
Needless to say, we heard the husband say "I want a divorce." The wife again goes berserk and the husband pulls her outside and the argument continues. Once the wife is gone, the husband goes back in, apologizes to everyone and says that his wife is a lunatic and that they will separate, although he wants a divorce because she is draining their bank account. Some people told him, "You deserve better." Some others pitched in for the bill and the waiter got a nice tip. It was the talk of the restaurant for quite some time.
I'm not a server, but I work in the kitchen and see what happens in the dinning area plus I speak to the servers every few minutes as they take out food etc.
Had a couple come in on valentine's Day, our restaurant sits about 50 people and we were booked for the night, so much so that we had tables capped at 1 hour before asking them to leave. About 2 and a half hours before closing the couple comes in. Everything seems normal and they act like any other customers, they order food have their starters and then mains. However, half way through their main they start having an argument and causing a scene, one of the waiters asked them if they could be a little bit more respectful towards other customers. They relax for a bit and honestly seemed embarrassed about the whole situation. This is where it gets interesting. About 5 minutes later the guy just gets up and in complete silence walks out the front entrance. The woman stays there and completes her meal. This is about 1:45 minutes before closing time. After about 20 minutes of staring at an empty chair the woman asks for the bill. The guy who left never came back. The problem was, the woman didn't have her wallet or her phone and the guy drove her there so no car either. After not being able to pay, she asked us to wait until her partner returns, we waited about 30 minutes before we had no other choice but to call the police. The police came and after about 10 minutes they escorted her out of the restaurant. Our manager felt awful about the situation and told the woman that she could return and pay the next day. I assume the police drove her home. And as promised she returned the next day, paid the bill, apologised about the situation and left.
Honestly, don't really know what happened between the two or why they were arguing but that guy pulled a really scumbag move and absolutely humiliated the poor woman.
I had a section one V-day that had a marriage proposal, a 40th anniversary, and a break up all at the same time. The break up was the worst. The guy brought his high class date a gift; a mini ceramic bear holding balloons. He presented it when I was at the table and she looked at it like it was a hot turd. I just knew this was not going to end well. She left at the end of the meal and must have said something because he stayed at the table for another 40 minutes, head down and crying. I felt bad, he saw the celebrations going on at the other tables.
16 years in hospitality gives you some good stories. The most awkward: My first job as a waitress a guy wanted to propose to his girlfriend. He came in 2 months before to book and had everything figured out. He planned to pop the question during dessert. We had champagne, balloons and sparklers prepped for the big moment. The time comes, he drops to one knee gives a speech about his love for her. He asks, she says no, puts the ring in her bag, finishes her dessert and leaves. Quite possibly the most awkward thing I have had to witness (alongside around 200 other people.) The manager gave him everything for free he felt that bad for him. Cringed inside every time I saw him after that. The most f***ed up: I was working as a duty manager and one of the tills kept dropping off the network. As I was trying to fix it I could clearly hear the conversation of the table by the waiters station. It started out sweet enough with her excitedly telling him she was pregnant. He went quiet and didn't say anything for a bit and then asked her what the plan was. She said she was keeping the baby. He said he didn't want kids and had told her this. She got upset and said she thought he'd be happy and change his mind when he found out. (By this point I've fixed the till, but am unable to step away from this car crash.) Turns out she stopped taking the pill without telling him thinking she could turn him around. He said he knew she could be a little nuts sometimes but this was next level. He told her it was over and she could send someone to collect her things as he wanted nothing more to do with her. He called me over to pay the bill and just left. The guy never even shouted, he just calmly went f*** this and noped out of there. I couldn't even look her in the eye, just left her to leave in her own time. The funniest: Managing hotel room service where there was a valentines package that included getting each course of the special menu delivered to your room. More than a few couples thought it was a good idea to call for the next course and then start having sex. Having to help with deliveries as reception f***ed up the bookings; I had the 'privilege' of people answering the door naked, seeing sex toys strewn around and one where the other members of the threesome were carrying on in the background. After complaints of similar instances from my team I had to take action. I ended up having to call the offending guests and tell them if they could not respect my team by answering the door in at least a closed dressing gown they could come down and collect the rest of their meal from the restaurant. Bonus from the same night: had to call an ambulance for a woman with a dislocated shoulder. The guy admitted that they were trying to recreate a bukkake type scene in the shower using conditioner as the 'cum.' He slipped in the conditioner and fell on her.
Someone showing up for a date and you both realize about 30 minutes in she ain’t coming. “Drinks on me buddy”.
A couple came in to my hibachi restaurant since it was the "fanciest" place in town. Young woman was all decked out in a spangly, light blue satin cocktail gown, he was in a suit and tie. They wanted to sit at the grill for the show but still ordered a ton of sushi and drinks so their section of table was extremely full of dishes. I'm talking multiple mixed drinks and waters for both of them, soup and salad bowls for both of them, appetizer plates, sushi plates, soy sauce trays, and their entree plates. The hibachi seats 12 and it's basically a bar ledge around the grill for a table, and we were slammed so there was no extra room. I barely managed to talk them into letting me take the empty dishes as they finished with them, but it hardly helped. The chef starts his show and dude is super into it, demanding to be included. So the chef flicks a shrimp at him. In his effort to show off and catch it in his mouth, he manages to miss it completely and crashes into the table sending food, drinks, and a full bottle of soy sauce on a plate right into his date's pale blue satin covered lap and everywhere else. It was a complete s**t show. She was screaming and crying, the other couples that had their meals ruined were all upset, he's blaming me(?!) The bus boys and I were just trying to clean up and salvage what we could of the service... it was awful.
Probably not the kind of story you're looking for, but one Valentine's day at my restaurant we got totally slammed and the kitchen started melting down. In the middle of dinner service the head Chef freaked out, threw a side of salmon at one of the line cooks and walked out.
not really a disaster but this guy came in and said he was waiting for his date, he stayed for 5 hours waiting and she never showed, he eventually ordered for for himself and asked that I remove the other glass of water from the table, he said it was their first date
A couple sitting at the bar were enjoying their night out. The man got up from his barstool and left for the bathroom. As his girlfriend was alone (and absolutely wasted) at the bar, a random woman approached and revealed that she recently matched with the woman’s boyfriend on Tinder and had hooked up a week earlier. The drunk girlfriend refused to believe this story, so the woman showed her his Tinder profile and their conversation. The boyfriend returned to a drunk, sobbing and screaming girlfriend.
I felt like I was watching a reality tv show, it was incredible. The poor girl was basically carried out of the bar by her boyfriend of 3 years whom she just discovered has been cheating on her for who knows how long. It was the most dramatic moment I have ever experienced and it was absolutely none of my business.
EDIT: I was a bar-back at the time and this couple sat directly in front of the place I spend most of my time, the glass washing station.
This story is my wife's, not my own, but I've heard it so many times I feel like I was there. We both waited tables in college and she happened to work for a very nice, romantic Asian/Southern fusion place in town. Valentine's day was overbooked, of course, and one table, a guy and his date, had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated. He's b***hing already as they are seated so she knows this will be extra fun on one of the busiest evenings of the year. They order and he insists he wants his filet mignon WELL DONE. Person of good taste, right? Anyway, she places the order as asked and continues on her way. Food comes out. Guy is very upset that filet is still slightly pink in the middle. My wife pulls the plate and assures him the kitchen will correct the error. She takes it back and Chef says, ok, we can handle that. Hands it off to grill who re-fires it. Plate comes back out 5 minutes later. Guy is even more irate. HE CAN STILL SEE PINK!!! Sends it back once more. Chef is done with this guy and has grill turn the damn thing into a charcoal briquette. Expo runs plate out to the table ASAP. As it's being dropped, my wife is talking to another table on the other side of the room, reviewing the wine list. Guy takes burnt steak in his hand, stands up, and THROWS IT ACROSS THE ROOM at my wife while yelling about how terrible the service and the chefs are. Dead silence in the room. All eyes are on guy. Guy's date is starting to tear up. He yells again about not paying, grabs his date's arm and leads her out of the building. I hope the date made it home safely. Guy had serious issues.
Was a server at a popular seafood chain that isn’t very fancy- but when you live in a town like the one I worked in, that sort of place is the nicest place to go for Valentines Day. Well, the night was incredibly busy when a couple came in. They were upset after waiting 45 minutes for a table, and they were complaining quite a lot. The woman was decked out in a super nice dress and faux fur coat that was actually very realistic. Well, she was sat and served her frozen drink. She goes to lift the glass to her mouth, and inexplicably, the bottom of the cup simply breaks and the drink is spilled ALL OVER her dress and nice coat. Was unfortunate.
Saw a couple have a full on argument at a restaurant. I wasn’t their server but the table was directly in the center of the restaurant and they were certainly loud enough for everyone to hear. My manager kindly asked them to leave and the guys response was to yell “I’ve been wanting to do that s**t for 2 years now” and stormed out
I was working at a corporate sports bar that specialized in chicken wings. V-day (like most days) was INSANELY busy! As the evening winds down, someone calls in saying they're a professional food critic and demanded to speak to the manager. After a 15-minute call, the manager tells us the "critic" rated us a B- and said the food was good, but the service sucked. He said he would leave that last part out of his review if we comped his meal and gave him vouchers for free meals in the future...but he refused over and over to say where he worked. Confused, the manager talked to the server...who confirmed that the guy ate alone, ran her around ragged while shamelessly hitting on her, and left zero tip (he wrote his phone number on the tip line). Thirsty b***h wanted free food because the server didn't call him immediately for a date.
I was a waitress many moons ago, and two couples spring to mind. The first were an older couple who were dressed nicely. They were polite and cordial to me, but not overly enthusiastic or friendly. They were at the table for a little over an hour and a half, and we didn’t see them say one word to each other during that time. Every time I went over to their table, the atmosphere felt like I’d walked straight into an argument, but they weren’t speaking, or looking at each other or anything. It very quickly became awkward as f***. The second couple was meant to be having a proposal dinner. The guy had rung to book a table, and had let us know he was going to propose during dessert. He’d given the ring to kitchen staff so we could bring it out with a cake, and he’d got some balloons and streamers too. Anyway, he walks in a couple of steps behind his partner - everyone has big grins for them both - but he grits his teeth and shakes his head, surreptitiously dragging his finger across his throat pantomime style. Great. Oh, and lucky me, they’re seated in my section. It’s obvious she was bloody furious with him about something; she spends the first half of the meal seething quietly, and the second having a constant pop at him. While she was in the loo, the manager made me double check he didn’t want us to bring the ring out or anything. “F***, no!” was his response. I felt really bad for him, she really was mean!
Was the Chef at a pretty fancy place. We did 4 course tasting prix fixe, and were always booked to the brim for Valentines. The owner was out of town and the place was packed during our first seating when the pipes to the apartment above the restaurant burst. Nasty, cold water rained on everyone and everything. Fire department came. Owner said to give everyone champagne, clean the place up and keep going. As if anyone wanted to continue their meal soaked through on a cold ass night in ceiling water.
It was my first week serving and I was trying to do everything by the books. This normal seeming couple is satisfied throughout the meal, I ask if the check would be together or separate, big mistake. I figured it would be together and go to the gentleman but not wanting to assume I asked. They say together, nbd I go get the check and drop it off. Come back and she's writing a paragraph about how I shouldn't have asked, I grab my manager and she stops by the table and crazy lady complains. They leave, the gentleman tips me well and seems embarrassed at the situation. Crazy lady fills out our survey complaining and calls the store 3 times after to complain. I brushed it off because she obviously had insecurity issues but damn what a wild ride.
He proposed, she said no. He cried and tried to change her mind for 20 minutes while she sat there stony-faced. She finally got up and walked out. He paid and left in tears.
A couple came in to the restaurant I work in last year. They split a meal and looked happy enough. Half way through theyre meal I notice the guy seems upset. He's speaking louder and faster and the girl seams a little shocked. The guy start screaming ABOUT SUGAR! And how its the biggest problem of the 21century. How her not caring is gonna get all of us killed and it's her fault. There was a waiter trying to get involved at this point and asking him to stop screaming, the girl was so embarrassed she just left in a hurry, the guy ran out after her with out paying the bill. He came early next day, really embarrassed. Paid the bill, said sorry under his breath and left. Never seen either of them again.
One night at Applebee's, a lovely couple came In and ordered a few drinks at the bar. They were a really cute couple and tipped well. They came back every friday and always tipped well. The day before Valentine's day, the man came in alone and said he was going to propose tomorrow to his girlfriend. It was a very large ring. Easily $10,000. When he came back the next day, the girlfriend appeared distracted and the man was oblivious. When he went to propose she declined and said that she was having an affair. He looked so heartbroken and just instantly dead inside. The rest of the night, the entire restaurant was kinda silent. When they left, I didn't expect him to come back. Found out a week later that he committed suicide outside her house so that she would see what she had done to him.
Worked at this Japanese restaurant and had one guy comes and orders a bunch of sushi to go, says he's going to surprise his girlfriend. He comes back like 30 minutes later and asks us if he could return some of the sushi. Apparently his girlfriend has a seafood allergy and couldn't eat anything he ordered and she was mad he spent so much money, so she made him come and try to get some of it back. Obviously we couldn't really give him a refund on the food, but we made him a chicken hibachi on the house so he could have something to take back to her because we felt bad for the guy.
It wasn’t disastrous for the couple as much as it was the restaurant. I used to work at a small southeastern franchise restaurant, it wasn’t anything you could mistake for upscale. We had someone call in and ask if we could fry the ring he was planning to propose with in a hush puppy. Extremely weird request, but we said sure.
They come in to eat with their families, she gets her order of hush puppies, doesn’t choke on the ring and seems excited enough. Stayed at the table for about two hours total and chatted.
They dined and dashed.
Edit: Had no idea there would be a ton of confusion over what a hush puppy was. In America (or at least the south) a hush puppy is a fried ball of corn meal. I promise it tastes better than what it sounds like.
Also, for all those asking, it was a place called the Shrimp Basket. It’s a pretty small franchise. Sorry to break the hearts of all those that were guessing Waffle House or Captain D’s.
Worked at a high end restaurant in podunk Louisiana. This was the spot for LSU alumni and etc. We have a Valentine's day private party after closing hours. I am bussing the room around 1 am and rich people are THROWING down. Dozens of wine glasses, bottles, food etc. Well this one lady was f***ed up to the gills and thought it would be smart to pull a tablecloth off a table to look for her "insert drunken mutter". Before i could stop her she rips it off, it hits the ground, and glass and s**t flys everywhere. She gets on her hands and knees and started frantically looking for her phone she lost in the process while wearing a little white dress. I looked on in horror and amazement. We immediately rounded her up and ended the party.
I served at a Japanese hibachi restaurant and once had a couple come and the dude dumps her after the meal. She then gets up and throws up a trail probably a good 20 feet as she runs to the bathroom. The dude got up and left the girl and I was left to clean the mess.
Not a waiter, but a chef at a small(ish) restaurant. We were really busy (duh) last year and I was out helping bus some tables real quick. I saw a guy and gal sit down, they asked for water so I got it for them. I came back and the I heard the guy say “So why the f*** do you have Tinder on your phone?” Went back to the kitchen. My FoH manager asked me what happened and I said “What are you talking about?” I guess the girl left quickly while crying and the guy followed shortly after. They left $2 for the water, so that was nice.
I worked at a sports bar
Every couple there on valentines day was a divorce waiting to happen
This couple was double dating, and waiting for the other couple. We were running 1 lb lobster tail special, and we ran out. The wife went ape s**t on me, furious about the whole situation. Their friends wind up bailing on them, and the wife gets more angry. Husband takes my GM to the side to apologize for her and they decide to leave and gives my GM 40 bucks to give to me.
my friend and her husband would fake a proposal every year on valentines day for free food. turns out one of the people working that day, also worked LAST valentines day. she shut down the shenanigans and they got kicked out.
they moved to a new restaurant and continued the tradition the next year
I weighted tables at a mexican restaurant while I was in college. A couple sitting at a table not in my section, the guy gets down on one knee and proposes with an unopened black box. The girl said "can I see the ring first" he opened the box and she hesitated and then said "ok". A couple I was waiting on could not stop talking about it. They were both mortified for the guy. Then we all kind of wondered if they would actually get married or how long the marriage would last.
I waited on one of the owners of the restaurant I was working at with his girlfriend and her tween kids (kinda weird, but probably didn't get a babysitter). He had been dating this woman for a number of months, but it was his first Valentine's Day on a date that wasn't his wife in decades. I don't think he was ready, but he was there to support the business. He broke down crying during dinner and it was heartbreaking. They left early.
Nothing too scandalous, but I'd say "Happy Valentine's Day" pretty much to any couple that sat at my tables, occasionally one of them would say something like "we're not dating". Some of the times, the other person would give a look that pretty much confirmed that they both had very different interpretations of what was going on.
There's an episode of 30 Rock where they mention that "going to IKEA" is a big stress test in relationships. That has nothing on going to a restaurant on the busiest days of the year, particularly Mother's Day, and Valentine's (especially when it's on a weekend). I'd say 99% of the "disasters" I've seen have just been normal run of the mill issues where couples realize they have different levels of patience, and one person undoubtedly gets aggravated with the packed restaurant, and their time is ruined.