Anyone who's spent time in bars knows how rowdy things can sometimes get. No one knows this better than your friendly neighborhood bartenders, who have sometimes had to intervene. We were reminded this after Redditor Mehariel asked the online community: "Bar staff of Reddit, have you ever had a man use the "safeword drink" escape, and how often does it happen?"
"I used to..."
I used to bartend for a gay bar. One night I had a group of guys who seemed to be having a great time. After another round of shots, one sticks behind at the bar and asks for an angel shot. I bring him behind the bar and into the office. He was with a couple coworkers and their friends. He knew the coworkers were gay, and would be taking him to a gay bar, but apparently things started to get out of hand when they started trying to grope him. I tell him he can chill in the back room for as long as he needed, he hands me a handful of crumpled 1s and asks for a burger.
We didn't really serve food besides bar snacks, so I hand him back his money and give him a couple bags of chips. About half an hour later I go to check on him, and notice that he's really messed up. To the point where he can't even talk. Luckily all his a-hole friends were still there drinking, so I called the cops. He's rushed away in an ambulance immediately. I shut the bar down so the cops and I can co through the security footage. We managed to catch two of the guys he's with putting some powder into his beer. Both of them were arrested, the other two were somewhere else at the time, and were let go.
"One of my regulars..."
I used to bartend and do front desk at a hotel. One of my regulars was in for the week, real nice guy, very friendly and happily married. We also had a cuckoo bird lady staying with us that week. She was good looking but def had something crazy in those eyes. They were both at the bar and they were talking for a while. Him being a nice guy, he didn't want to outright blow her off I guess. He stops at the front desk to say what's up and we talk for a bit while the girl is just standing behind him.
He shoots me a look that says get me out of this situation as he starts walking towards the elevator. Once she gets in the elevator I called him back to ask a question about Detroit because "I was going there next week." He got off the elevator but so did she. Then I told the lady there was a problem with the card she had on file (there wasn't) and he slipped away. He called me thanking me a few minutes later.
"I worked in a nightclub..."
I worked in a nightclub that was popular with the gay community for a couple of years, we didn't have a safe word but one night there were two guys clearly hitting it off they were flirting and having a great time. After a couple of drinks one of the guys was clearly being very forward and touchy, the other was not enjoying this and had withdrawn. He attempted to walk back to his friends but the first guy wasn't having this and pulled him back. In an attempt to get out the guy started vigorously shaking his head anytime one of the bar staff walked by.
After this happened a few times we realised something needed to be done and spoke to the guy that was being all forward and explained that we didn't think the other guy wanted to stay at the bar with him. He got aggressive then and started screaming at us because how would we know what the guy wanted; although it was blatantly obvious. Eventually we got security down to escort the guy out of the place so that the guy who had been trying to get away could go back to his friends, have a good night and not have to leave.
"There were never..."
I used to work in a high quality seafood restaurant as a chucker. There were never any safewords but there were a lot of telling looks. People behind the bar hear a lot of your conversations, they usually know whats going on before you do. I've had to escort more people than my job required off of the premises. Look at the bar staff in the eyes and slightly shake your head and we know.
"Turned out the girl..."
Yup, had exactly this happen to me years back in a nightclub I managed l, only time I've ever experienced it so I wouldn't say it happens often.
Turned out the girl he was with was an escort and she had threatened him saying guys were waiting outside to beat the him unless he paid up so many hundreds more than what they had agreed earlier. We immediately got the police involved instead of just escorting him out, It spiraled out of control briefly but all was well in the end.
Ahh had some good times working in the cub industry.
"He came up to me..."
Am a bouncer, had a regular dude meeting a tinder date. She was pretty hot and I gave him a thumbs up. She was very polite and nice, 2 drinks later she became an utter loon. I walked up to him to see how it was going and he explained while she was in the toilet how much a of a loon she was being to everyone.
He came up to me, said how good the whisky was he just had and I knew straight away (he's a beer man through and through) he wanted to bail. I asked him if he would stay if he didn't meet her, he nodded. So I kicked the girl out and told her she was too drunk.
He met his girlfriend of now 3 years 2 hours later after I kicked her out.
"Only had one incident..."
Only had one incident of a man using Ask For Angela (UK safeword scheme). Gay kid on a bad date. His date had been extremely overbearing and even having to witness it from the bar was extremely uncomfortable. We smuggled him into the kitchen and out the side door while his date went to the bathroom and called him a taxi. Date came back from the bathroom, asked where the kid was, I just went "dunno". Date started getting aggro with me, so supervisor ended up throwing this guy out by the collar.
It honestly doesn't get used enough, by either men or women, especially here in the UK. It absolutely sucks, especially when you as a bartender can't really legally do much or you risk not only your job, but the bar's reputation.
"I knew about..."
Yep, I work in a nightclub in a small city in England in Lincolnshire. I once had a guy who seemed to only recently turned 18, ask if Angela was working (Ask for Angela is a UK scheme that helps prevent violence and assaults). I knew about the Ask for Angela scheme and immediately I brought him into the glass wash room. Turns out there were a bunch of lasses encouraging this one lass into seducing him, grinding up on him, trying to kiss him and groping him. This apparently continued even after the man had walked away into other parts of the nightclub after showing and saying he wasn't interested.
I had reported this to my supervisor who was a little hesitant at first but eventually called the bouncers into the back room too. We explained the situation to them. Now these guys are basically 200-300 pound tanks who you would expect to joke about this and tell this guy to man up and enjoy it but to my suprise, they took it seriously as well.
They managed to track down this group (5 women including the one who was doing the grinding) and they escorted all of them out of the building. Meanwhile, a taxi had already been prepared by my supervisor and the taxi firm was literally down the road, so it didn't take long for it to arrive. I escorted the man through the back stairs that continues down to the stock cellar but leads off to the side exit of the building near the bins. A taxi was parked just outside.
It would be a rare occasion when someone uses "AskAngela" where I work, let alone a man so I'm really glad that all of the staff took it seriously and helped as much as they could.
"I have been..."
I have been manager of a night club in Holland for 1.5 years. We got good night out trainings. This is a training that helps you recognize when someone is getting sexual harassment and how to react to the situation. We would put up the good night out posters all over the venue. So if we miss it, people know they can trust the staff and tell us.
Because it is hard to really recognize this in a night club we had more people that would go to the bar and ask for help. They would just tell us, we had no safe word. If this happened I was called and I stopped with everything I did and started helping this person.
A LOT can feel as harassment. So we would always take it seriously. First I would try to take them off the dance floor and backstage so I could sit down and hear their story. After that I would always ask them if they want to press charges. If not they could point the person that was harassing them to me and I would kick them out. If they want to press charges I had to call the police and also try to find the harasser and hold them until the cops arrived.
This would not happen a lot, maybe once every 1/2 months. Still to much but for a night club it could be a lot worse.
If someone tells you they are getting harassed always take it serious. He/she already feels ashamed and had the balls to tell you about it.
I work occasional shifts at a gay bar, where they don't really have a safeword drink because where would they advertise that without the other party knowing? But there are still other ways that people surreptitiously ask for help, like writing something on the receipt or on a napkin. One guy, probably 19 or so, walked up to the bar and asked if he could charge his phone. When he handed it to me, he had already dialed in 911 (or, well, our equivalent).
And I'd say we get someone walking up to the guards or to the bar to complain about a creep at least once a week. Especially when they're pretty young.
"I haven't done it personally..."
I haven't done it personally, but a friend had it happen to him who is a bartender.
He was finishing up his shift when a man walks up to him, asking for a safe word drink (I forget what he said it was called) and said he wanted it on the rocks.
Friend just said "Yeah, sure," and helped him to the taxi. Just as the man got in the taxi, the woman he had been there with came running out towards the taxi and yelled profanities, calling the man she had been with "fwhite trash" and "he'll never amount to anything" and some shit like that.
Last I heard, she was banned from that bar (and several others) while the man who got help became a bit of a regular.
"I used to work..."
I used to work in a bar in Orlando and one Friday night were pretty heavy and have a guy (regular) and a lady on a date at the bar and it looks pretty well until he asks for 2 stomach shots A.K.A. "Please help me, I really really don't want to be here with them" and he excuses himself as our manager calls him a taxicab and explain to the lady and she gets mad and tries to leave saying that a man should pay for the bill no matter what
"In our bathrooms..."
In our bathrooms, there's an option to ask for "Angela" at the bar however these posters are only up in the women's bathrooms. This has backfired on me once in the past because I found a guy in a situation he probably didn't want to be in.
I was doing a walk through, collecting glasses (we don't have barbacks in the club I work in) and keeping an eye on things. I noticed this group sat down, one girl with her shoes off all over this guy who was staring forward and tense. Clearly uncomfortable. She was very drunk so I managed to ask if he was okay without her noticing, he shook his head, I radioed for a bouncer and she was removed from the venue.
Even if someone is unaware of the safe word or knows that the person they're trying to get away from knows the safe word, most bartenders and bouncers will try and keep an eye on people and make sure everyone is having a good time.
"This happened to me."
This happened to me. A man came up to the bar and said: "Hi there, do you know where Angela is?". I wasn't sure I heard him right, so I replied: "Sorry, what was that?". He then repeated "Do you know where Angela is?" whilst giving me a funny look with his eyes.
We had just had a new starter at the company called Angela who was working in the kitchen (the bar I worked at is in a restaurant). The fact he referred to her by name and his facial expression made me think he was a friend/spouse of hers, but he was unsure if she was working today or that he was at the right restaurant.
I told him I'd check the back for her. She was in the kitchen, so I went back to the bar and told him to follow me. I then pointed him towards Angela and he glanced over to her and said "Oh, right. Cheers." and then ran out of the fire escape next to her (one of those ones with a bar to open), setting a loud alarm off.
My manager came running in asking what was wrong, and I told him what had happened. My manager stopped the alarm and informed me about the 'Where's Angela?' campaign.
"Was in a night club..."
Was in a night club, working instead of a friend who had an exams next day. I took his two shifts since i had whole week free. There was a date where the guy was definitely afraid of a girl. Asked for permission to "engage" and decided to calm two down.
I took the man to our security booth where you have camera control, who was literally shaking out of fear. I had him calm down, paid for cold soda myself and gave one to the guy and i drank one myself (instead of cigarettes - i hate smoking).
After it, and nice talk (turned out he was a businessman) i called him a taxi. Wanted to give me equivalent of 300 dollars.... I said "no its my job" but he insisted... damn its a lot when you paycheck equals 800USDs. Taxi arrived and took that guy to his home. He thank me once again and gave me his number. Sadly i don't have it anymore. But still nice thing to happen.
I worked in a pub/club in Glasgow and there was this night I was the victim of a crazy drunk woman.
It happened shortly after the smoking ban. This woman started smoking inside the place and I happened to be walking by with some glasses. I informed her that she had to either put it out or be escorted out by the bouncer.
Unlucky me had that woman wanting me to escort her out. But I couldn't do it because she actually put her cigarette out and I didn't have any reason put her out of the pub/club.
Even though I was behind the bar, she kept on hitting on me. Bouncer didn't do anything about it, other staff were mocking me and even the manager was taking the piss, teasing and instigating the woman.
She started asking me for a kiss and the manager said he'd only interfere if I gave her a kiss.
It was my first job in Glasgow, as I had just moved from Brazil. I felt humiliated, anxiety kicked in, and, fearing being fired, I had to kiss her to have some peace.
After that, depression took over and I didn't last longer in the place. Ended up being fired, but for other reason, but related to bad management nonetheless.
"The lady in question..."
Yes. I have had this happen in a venue I managed in Melbourne.
The lady in question became very forward, slightly abusive and threatening. The gentleman was obviously concerned for himself and did not like the way the date had progressed, we booked him a taxi and walked him out a back exit whilst he was going to he toilet. I spoke to the lady and covered his half of the bill. She became hysterical, paid and then left.
There was a huge power imbalance.