Valentine's Day is perhaps one of the busiest times for restaurants, with couples forgoing take-out to share their romantic evening together in public.
Many establishments are festooned with red balloons and heart-shaped decor and illuminated by plenty of candles to set the perfect mood.
With so much love in the air, what could go wrong?
Apparently, Cupid's aim is not always on target at restaurants on the popular holiday.
Redditor Sindagen asked:
"Hell Of A Show"
"Used to be a professional musician and the four piece band I was in got booked for a Valentines event in a local bar."
"Guitarist invited his girlfriend down so they could be together on the night."
"What he hadn't counted on was his wife getting the night off work and coming to the show too as a Valentines surprise."
"Everything was ok for the first set of the night. The problems began when both Gf and Wife met in the band room backstage. Most of the band escaped the obvious row that was coming and waited by the bar for the 2nd set."
"We all then watched as the wife stormed onstage and began trashing the Fender Telecaster , Stratocaster and all his pedals, leads, amp etc. No one had the courage to stop her . She was rightly pissed."
"Shortly after she left the stage, the gf had her turn, destroying whatever was left of his gear. Between both cheated women, they caused around £2k worth of damage to his set up."
"Needless to say we played the 2nd set as a three piece."
"But it was a hell of a show lol."
Ring With Dessert
"At the beginning of the evening, this man gave me a ring to bring with dessert."
"The couple began arguing before they even ordered and ended up screaming at each other in the restaurant. My manager made me ask the guy - as discreetly as I could - if he still wanted the ring with the dessert. It was that bad. I really didn't want to, but I asked. He then started to scream at me that OF COURSE he still wanted the ring. He was right after all, it wasn't my business at all. So I brought out the ring."
"She said 'Are you f*cking serious?' and left."
"Then the man screamed at me again when I wouldn't let him chase after her / leave without paying. In the end he just threw the money on the table - huge tip, but I think he just gave what he had - and left."
"He had made such a scene we had to give free desserts to the tables next to them to make up for it."
"After the service I told my manager I was never questioning a client's request again."
"Not a waiter, but there was a couple seated a few places away from us. They sat far enough away so that we couldn't hear the conversation, but it was obvious that they were arguing."
"Waiter did his spiel on the set tasting menu, handed out a wine list. Guy orders wine for both of them and she interrupts with 'I'm good I'll just have a water.'"
"They continued over a very uncomfortable meal, during which he kept asking stuff. She'd respond with increasingly annoyed no's."
"Waiter returns, notices that appetizers hadn't even been touched yet. Tops off her water and his wine, then asks if everything was tasting alright. He finishes with a 'I'll give you guys some more time to enjoy.'"
"She (now loud enough to be clearly understood) 'I can't keep doing this with you.'"
"Angrily forks into her appetizer and finishes. just in time for the entree to arrive. Arguing continues, and guy is looking increasingly nervous. Suddenly, he gets down on one knee."
"She 'oh God no.'"
"He takes her hand to put the ring on it I guess. She snatches her hand away like he's lava."
"He (still not reading the signals) 'will you do . . . '"
"She, bursts into tears."
"Entire restaurant audibly 'awww.'"
"She 'I can't believe you would even ASK after what you did. I told you I needed space. I don't even know if I CAN trust you anymore.'"
"After that, things were kind of a blur. I think she threw a couple of $20s on the table, then ran out. He stayed on the ground, still holding up the ring like he wasn't done proposing yet."
"Waiter returned with one of those sweet@ss lava cakes topped with a little 'she said yes' thing."
Asked To Leave
"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 sh*t for 2 years now' and stormed out."
Stalker, Party Of One & The Divorce Papers
"Man comes in in a full suit, a bouquet of flowers, a large box of chocolate, and some expensive jewelry."
"He sits at a table and happily tells me he's waiting for his beloved, an hour passes by and the guy went from sweet and smiling to sweating and muttering angrily."
"He then gets up and walks over to a girl sitting with her family and starts yelling at her. He yelled how she betrayed him and how she'd treat her right and she had to be with witm him all the while the girl's male relatives were sheileding her from him."
"Police arrived and it turns out the guy had a restraining against him from the girl and he had been stalking and harassing her."
"What made it even creepier was that he was in his 40s while the girl was barely 20 years old."
"Another is when a man walked up to a woman and her date and just slammed a large and heavy envelope in front of her and walked away."
"The woman went from amorous octopus with her date to treating him as if he was the most disgusting man in the planet to running after the man. Woman was his wife and he had caught her with her side piece and he had served her the divorce papers along with the evidence of her infelidity. What made it worse was that the date had no money and we had to contact the woman to pay us."
The Greedy B
"Working restaurants for 14 years. I had a guy asked me to help him bring the ring and champagne after the dinner and I did that. Being a woman and wanting to witness the romance, I hid around the corner so I could kind of peek at them."
"They were lovey-dovey all through dinner everything seemed good and I fully expected yes. The woman did not react well at all. She told him no and that she was planning on breaking up with him. She added the only reason she was on this date with him is because he said he bought her something special for Valentine's Day. She thought he was going to buy her the car she asked him for, and she was going to dump him next week. Then she said since you didn't get the car, she's dumping him now and she left!"
"The guy was absolutely devastated! I felt so bad for him. I will remember her for the rest of my life because how could I not! What a greedy b****"
Topped With Dessert
"We had a classic of a couple coming in all dressed up and out for their romantic dinner, but as the meal went on they gradually got more and more tense and their muttered argument slowly became very loud. Walking back over to refill drinks or take plates seemed to make it even worse, but I couldn't just leave their (very small) table covered in stuff. By dessert they were basically waging war on each other, and the evening ended with the guy getting a bowl of chocolate cake and ice cream emptied over his head."
"I still have no idea what they were arguing about, but the poor guy just sort of shoved a loads of notes on the table and ran out of there after his partner."
Fired On A Date
"I was a waiter at The Pasta House and another server was pregnant and trying to cover as many shifts as possible before she had the baby so she asked if she could work Valentine's Day for me and I said sure. Dinner reservations fell through for my date and I so we decided to see if I could get a table at the restaurant where I worked. I walk in the door and they are very busy and my manager said, 'Thank god you got my message. So and so went into labor and we need you to take tables...' I told them I was on a date and they said it was my responsibility, so I got fired on the date and we just went to a bar and grill."
Trips To The Bathroom
"Woman was 8 months pregnant. Guy brings her in for Valentine's and has the mariachi band sing their love song."
"He pulls out the expected ring and she says yes. Things looked perfect... Only spicy Mexican food is perhaps not the best choice when 8 months pregnant."
"She hurriedly shuffled to the restroom 5 times. The 5th... She didnt make it."
"Its a very small community so I met them years later at a wedding party. I walked up and introduced myself. I mentioned I had met them before years ago. 'In fact I was there years ago when y'all got engaged. The emotions were just... Flowing that night?' The husband laughed the wife covered her face in shame and I was invited to their DnD group."
Table For One
"With my girlfriend in a restaurant, we saw a young man alone at a table. A bunch of flowers and box of chocolates sorta-hidden behind his chair."
"He had so obviously been stood up by his Valentine's Day date..."
Having It Your Way
"I had a friend he used to work the drive through at Burger King and he told me overheard this conversation on Valentine's day while taking a car's order."
"Girl: Get me a #3..."
"Guy: It's Valentine's Day baby, you can super size it!"
"Had a brief stint as a waiter in high school."
"This one couple look very sweet and loving, no apparent problems. The girl got down on her knee and asked him to marry her."
"He started laughing hysterically and explained to her that proposing is a man's job, not a woman's."
"She was furious. She started screaming about how sexist that was, then got her stuff and stormed out. He looked completely bewildered."
"I was working in a very quiet bar a couple of years ago, there was one couple sat in a corner booth having a screaming argument. Very very awkward."
As an artist and struggling New York actor/writer I of course have waited on many a table. I've served the rich the poor, old and young, the fashionable, the plain, the kind and the evil. (There is far more evil eating out... just FYI) And it always made me wonder about strangers and their stories. In particular the stories behind the people who left me with a sense of sorrow. I've seen people stood up, celebrate the passings of loved ones from 9/11 and even a proposal gone awry. (Never ask for someone's hand in marriage with the ring on an Olive Garden breadstick!) Seeing people at their most vulnerable is definitely something you remember.Redditor u/nGear wanted to know about the times they felt a tug at the heart for a few customers by asking them to divulge.... Waiters, what's the saddest "I'm waiting for someone" you have experienced?
Shame on you young man....Embarrassed Hide GIF by florGiphy
I was a server for 5 years and the most heartbreaking experience I had was an older woman, probably in her 60's was waiting for her grandson to come meet her for lunch. When I greeted her at the table she was very excited as I assumed she didn't see him much.
As time went by no one showed up so she decided to order. Towards the end of her meal no had shown up so it being a slow shift, me and my gf (we worked together at the same restaurant which is where we met), decided to just talk with her for a little bit and give her some company. We both felt so sad for this sweet old lady but we could tell that simple act of kindness made her day. Shame on that grandson.
Happy Birthday Sir.
I was actually a hostess at the time and I was asked to take the table for a server. An old man came in asking for a table of 6 and he asked for 6 waters. I set up his table and I put his order in. He said it was his birthday. He was there for about an hour or 2 and nobody showed up. It was really sad. He ended up tipping me like $30 and he said "Sorry for the trouble." I still think about that guy. I hope he's doing okay. :(
You dodged a bullet....
Once at my shift I saw a really shy guy, you could see that he is on a budget, but omg, he was so trying so hard and looked so exited about upcoming date! He brought one rose, and asked what he can purchase on 10 euros to make this evening beautiful. My heart melted so much that I offered him for free two glasses of wine and a dessert (I was a manager).
We put on a table some candles, and so he was sitting there and with the big smile waiting for his date to come. But she never came. He waited like 2 hours, nervously checking on his phone. When he left, he gave this rose to me and thanked for kindness towards him. He was so broke. So was my heart about this situation. :(
After Goodbye....disney love GIFGiphy
Place I used to work at had a man come in every night for a week, wait for a few hours, order food and drinks, then leave with no one showing up.
Later learned he was just trying to cope with his wife's death, believing that she'd arrive to greet him at the restaurant were they had their first date.
Not the waitstaff, but the "Wait-er."
I had set an OKCupid date at this nice coffee shop in Brooklyn. I get there, and I know the barista from college. I'm the only person in the shop at the time, so we talk a little, awkwardly. Gradually other customers arrive, so she attends to them and I attend to my phone.
It gets to the point where my date is 20 minutes late and hasn't been responding to my messages asking about an ETA. I'm sweating. Profusely. I'm so embarrassed that I'm probably being stood up in front of someone who I had several classes with years prior and knows most of my friends. I feel so humiliated.
Then my date walks in.
Stands there for a moment.
AND WALKS RIGHT BACK OUT THE DOOR
Barista: "Was that her?"
Barista: "What an a-hole."
That comment made things slightly better.
An Extra Plate....
A six-year-old boy came every day with his older brother at lunchtime and for almost a month they ordered three plates of food and always left one. When I attended to them, the boy told his older brother to ask his mother for lunch because she was already arriving, but their mother never came.
The boy's older brother asked me to give the food to someone who needed it when they left and he told me that his mother had died and that he did not know how to explain to his little brother that his mother was not coming back, but that this cafeteria It was the last place where she had taken her little brother to eat and that is why the boy believed that she would return for the dinner.
4 in a row....
A woman came in 4 nights in a row just in case she got the day wrong. She'd sit at the bar wearing the same flowery dress every night and would hopefully look at the door every single time it opened. Left in tears the first two nights when we closed, the third and fourth nights she just stared vacantly at the door until we had to make sure she left.
I never saw her again, I don't think any other staff did either but we all felt really bad for her. She got a couple free drinks and apps, we didn't even care if it was a scam cause she seemed so broken about it.
Why so Public?bugs bunny cooking GIF by Looney TunesGiphy
Was working an evening shift and a relatively younger guy came in and waited for his date. She showed up and not even 10 minutes later he got up and left and she sat there crying.
Patrons that are there to breakup are also hard to witness.
No doggy bag?
Not a waiter, but was out with my girlfriend and we were seated next to a date.
Guy was clearly trying to engage with the girl, but the girl kept looking at her phone disinterested. Guy initiated all the conversations, only to be met with 1 word answers.
He ordered a lot of food (it's a dessert place, so a lot of small meals) and then the girl suddenly took her bag and left? He banged the table after about paying, and just left with the food untouched.
Everyone in the vicinity, including the waiters were visibly shocked. I felt so bad for the guy.
Stalled....Simon Pegg Wink GIF by Working TitleGiphy
Not a waiter, but this happened to me.
I went speed dating, turned up to the venue to find it very quiet. Barely anyone was there.
The event was on the second floor, so I got a pint for the time being and sat down and waited for people to turn up.
I tried to go up to the second floor only to find that it had been closed off. Noticing my confusion the bar man asked if I was there for speed dating, I said yes, he told me it was cancelled. I didn't get an email about this, nothing.
So I sat there, dressed up and alone. I finished my pint and went home.
Dropping $1500 for Nothing....
Ugh this one was tough; I worked at a pretty fancy steakhouse in town, and we had a private dining room that could set up to 32 at a single, long table. To book the room we charged a $1500 deposit, which we then used to cover part of the bill (it was a deposit, not a room charge). Anyways, this girl books it for 26 people, puts the deposit on her card. She shows up with her sister, and then after about 20 minutes, 2 of their 'friends' show up and sit at the opposite end of this giant table from the birthday girl and her sister.
Nobody else came. They waited an hour, the birthday girl was sobbing, the other two just awkwardly left. It was awful. I'm grateful to my manager, who in a moment of compassion refunded the whole deposit back onto the poor girls card. I felt terrible for her.
Just say NO.sad adventure time GIFGiphy
Got sat a "party of 15 to 20" for a woman's bridal shower.
Her mom decorated the table and chairs and the whole corner for the party, everyone in the restaurant could see there was going to be a party there on a busy Friday night. 4 people showed of the possible 20, that includes the future bride and mom. I didn't even care about the money I was missing out on (four tables of my section gone on a busy weekend shift) I just felt so bad for her.
Why Bother Lady?
Not a waiter, but worked at a coffee shop for several years and made friends with tons of regulars. One of the regulars, we'll call him J, was working on his PHD in Art History or something to that effect at the university near us. He came in one day, got his usual tea and asked if I could charge him for a latte, but make it later, no big deal.
I was bussing tables and asked who the latte was for and very excitedly expressed that he was meeting a lady and it was "kind of a date". He was an awkward kind of guy, but very interesting and incredibly friendly. One hour passes, no show, two, no show, finally three, he's looking despondent and starts collecting his things and leaves.
She showed up 20 minutes later asking about J. Apparently they got their times completely mixed up. He comes in the next day and I mention that she came in looking for him and he looked so excited. I found out a week or so later from him that she basically blew him off a second time. He was so crestfallen, it broke my heart.
Still With Me...
Ahhh, I haven't bartended in a million years, but the saddest one was a guy in his 30s. He had a 2 top, asked for a bottle of top shelf champagne, candles lit, all that. Told me they were celebrating. No one showed. Guy looked morose, but had an appetizer, poured a glass of champagne for the person who wasn't there, then asked for the bill.
I felt bad he obviously got stood up, so I brought him a desert in the house. He smiled, and told me it was his anniversary. My face must've showed my sadness for him, so he clarified- his wife died of cancer a few month ago. It may have been the saddest thing I've seen.
Not exactly a waiter, but I was working at a bar a few years back and there often was this girl (in her early twenties maybe) who sometimes used to meet her mother at the bar (maybe about every 2 or 3 months).
The thing is, more often than not the mother either came extremely late (1 or 2 hours at least) to didn't came at all. When she came, there often was a huge tension between the two. It was obvious that they had some unresolved issues.
Watching the girl wait for hours even if it was clear that the mother wouldn't come on that day always broke my heart. As a barkeeper and since she was a regular, I tried my best to engage a conversation with her to distract her a little, but there's only so much you can do.
Fun fact: Years after I stopped working at that bar, I met her at a random party and we had a great evening/night together. She told me that she 'broke up' with her mother tho.
So it's a No?Sorry Dog GIF by swerkGiphy
Guy was dressed really nice. Says his date should be there soon and goes ahead and is seated.
He orders a drink and 30 minutes pass by... then and hour, and another drink later. He started fidgeting with something and I noticed it was a ring. After an hour and a half he asked for his check and muttered something about "There goes two years wasted and down the drain." He tipped 2x his bill.
into crack town....
This gentleman in his mid forties came to my restaurant frequently and would not order his drink until "his wife got there." He would wait for a few minutes, then pull out a framed picture of a woman, set it on the table, and proceed to order his food and drink. He would talk to the framed picture and have dinner with "her" about once a week.
I noticed him doing this often and told my coworker I thought it was cute he was having dinner with his late wife and she replied,"Oh, no that's not his wife. He found that picture at good will and has been a relationship with it ever since. He told me that a long time ago." What did I expect from working right off the freeway in crack town. Very true story, no lie.
14 is an unlucky #...
We had a 21st birthday party booked for 20, the family showed up early with a few friends. They had a few drinks and let the staff know some of the party were running late. Half an hour in, when the late people were supposed to arrive, two friends left.
An hour went by and the birthday group ordered.
Got their starters, told the service staff some more people were coming. About two hours in the mother said just bring the mains out.
It was so sad, I felt so bad for them. Being stood up by fourteen people, and the two friend who did show up didn't even eat.
"Honey, it is going to be okay."
A few years ago, I took myself to a movie and dinner. It was the weekend before Valentine's day. At the time I had a warehouse gig and that day my step counter was at 7.9 km. Being exhausted, I just sort of plopped down. Ordered quietly, sipped a beer, and derped around on my phone.
I must have looked like I was on the verge of tears (in reality I'd been rear ended at a red light the week before and just hurt all over.) Server comped my cheesecake, smiled politely, and quietly remarked "Honey, it is going to be okay." Until that point I wasn't sad to be alone- but after that I was fighting tears all the way home.
She GoneAngel's GlowGiphy
I had a regular who would always come in with his wife. One day he sat in my section and I noticed his wife wasn't with him. I asked "where's your wife today" he replied "she's in heaven waiting for me". Immediately I died inside 😭😭😭😭🥺
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