Tonight started like every other night at work.
I got there around 4:15.
I peed. It’s the first thing I do when I walk through the door.
I ordered my dinner. Chicken Quesadilla and a dinner salad.
I change into my uniform. Complete with flair for those of you who are curious. I even have a name tag but get this, there’s already a Maddog there so I don’t get to be Maddog. It took a while for me to realize they weren’t talking to me.
I go to the kitchen. I make two Diet Pepsis.
Depending on what I order it might take three seconds to get my food. It might take 20 minutes. I wasn’t sure tonight since I’d never had the quesadilla. Luckily the day shift kitchen guy likes me so he always wants to know what I’m having so I can get it as fast as I can. He even made my salad to order today.
I get take my food and my two Diet Pepsis to the front wait station where I get a fork, a knife and napkins.
I then go to the dining room where we have pre-shift.
And I sit in my chair. It the first chair just to the right of the column. Every one knows it’s my chair. They don’t sit there.
And I eat. And talk. And wait.
I usually finish eating before pre-shift starts. When I first started working there we had a manager who didn’t allow you to eat during pre-shift. He got transferred and then was forced to quit.
Pre-shift starts. Always with an announcement of who’s in what station. It’s the name and then the section. Maddog. Station 10.
We find out we are out of Heineken. We find out we are starting a frequent flyer program for kids. (Who thinks this shit up?) We are told we have three large parties coming in tonight. Where they will go and who’s waiting on them.
And then we go on break. Someone complained about a year ago and so now we have to take a break. And since servers can’t take a break in the middle of the shift. We clock in and then clock right back out on our break. It’s stupid and now we get on the floor 30 minutes later than we used to.
I clock out. I drink the last of my Diet Pepsi. We talk about Shelter Island. We talk about Vajazzling. Stop reading now and go look this up. It’s too funny not to read about. We talk about how busy we were last night.
At 5:25, I pick up my dishes, I take them to the dishroom, I clock in and I go find the daytime server that I’m replacing.
We do the exchange of tables.
All is well. I’m off to the races.
Everything started as usual tonight.
And it stayed that way until about 10:00 or so.
Around 10:00 I noticed a black guy standing around on my side of the bar. This is no big deal. I work next to the bar, there are always guys standing next to it. I waited for him to take a seat, ready to wait on him so he wouldn’t get his drink from the bar. He stands there and then moves on.
I continue to wait tables.
Around 10:15, I see the same guy. Standing next to the bar, “texting”, not really doing anything.
Around 10:30, I see him again. I’ve worked in my restaurant a long time. I’ve worked in cocktails for just as long. I can see when a person is looking for someone, waiting on someone, or just trying to figure out where to go. He was doing none of these things.
He still standing near the edge of the bar when a couple of other servers come up. I point him out and want to know if he works with us. Most of the kitchen staff is black and there are more back of house people than there are front of house people so I think it might be someone I don’t know waiting for someone. Everyone assures me that he doesn’t work with us.
I find Steve the manager. Steve’s the manager who tried to fire me two weeks ago.
I tell him that there’s guy floating around the bar who clearly doesn’t belong there. He wants to know why and I explain to him that he keeps circling the bar, not really landing anywhere and he’s been texting for the last 30 minutes. I point him out to Steve. Steve says okay.
I go back to work but I’m still watching this guy.
He’s now standing right next to the service bar near the first chair to my counter. And I watch as he moves toward a customer, picks up her purse and starts around the bar with it.
At this point Steve is there and I tell him what I just say. He starts down my side of the bar toward him, I circle in the other direction to cut him off. As I approach him I motion for about three other servers to back me up.
I get there first and I stop him and tell him he’s going to have to wait for the manager. He wants to know why and I tell him it might be because of the woman’s purse he just stole. Steve joins us. Steve asks if he stole the woman’s purse. He denies it and lifts his jacket and opens his bag. There is no purse.
He starts to walk away and Steve tells him he’s going to have to wait till the police get there to talk to him before he can leave.
Steve, the guy, me and a couple of servers start toward the front door. The guy never runs. He doesn’t try to get away. He just keeps insisting that he did nothing wrong.
Now we are in the lobby. He’s insisting that he did nothing. I’m insisting that I saw him. He says if I took her purse where is it. I tell him I don’t know but I know what I say. He starts to walk away and a cop arrives.
I think the cop might have been about 12. He looked like he might start shaving next year.
He doesn’t really know what to do with him.
He’s still insisting that he didn’t do anything.
I keep insisting that I saw him take the purse.
He keeps telling us that if he stole the purse where is it.
The cop looks confused.
The cop asks — Did anyone see him take the purse.
FUCK. I’ve told you I saw him.
Did you see what he did with it.
Well if he doesn’t have the purse…
And then I realized he’s dumped the purse some where in a ten foot area near the bar.
I run back to the bar and I look in the dark area next to the computer.
I look in the trash can next to the bar.
What do you know?
I take the purse out to the cops and tell him that he doesn’t have the purse because he dumped it in the garbage.
There is still much confusion.
I tell them if they don’t believe me we have security tapes that will prove it.
The cop says, “There are security tapes?”
I say yes.
Steve tells me to go back to my tables and they’ll let me know if they need me.
By this time everyone on my side of the restaurant has seen the incident and wants to know what’s going on.
I try to explain, catch up their table and stop shaking.
I don’t know if I was shaking because I was mad or because I was a little taken aback that I’d actually stepped in between him and the door.
Steve comes to get me.
I go back to the lobby. The 12 year old wants to know if I SAW him take the purse. I said yes. I say him pick up the purse and round the corner with it.
We all stand there and finally “real” cops show up.
There is much maneuvering and stuff. Everyone is trying to figure out how to deal with this.
I go back to waiting tables.
By now I’ve pretty much ignored my tables for an hour.
I go back in and luckily a couple of my co-workers have figured out what’s going on and taken orders, gotten drinks, etc. (I just realized as I typed this that I had a four top that got three desserts for free because I never put them on the check after someone got them for them. Whoops). I pick up where they’ve left off and I go back to work.
A few minutes later another manager (the AGM) walks by and I ask what’s going on now? He tells me that he’s called and gotten the security code for the tapes and that he’s going to check them now.
(I find out later that the area he picked to take the purse has at least three cameras pointed at it, because it’s near the service bar and close to the office where they keep the money.)
Steve comes back in and says, “They have your friend in handcuffs out there.”
I say, “Finally.”
He says, “You need to go down to the other end of the bar to answer some questions.”
Now during all this time there is the poor girl who had her purse stolen. Of course she’s a tourist. And of course she’s scared to death that she almost lost her passport, money, etc. She has been up front and center during all of this.
I go down there and they are questioning the girl. Why they need to spend 15 minutes talking to her I don’t know.
I’m told they need to get a statement from me and my information. I tell them to wait just a second.
I find Amber and ask her to cover my section, give her my computer card, and then go back down.
I basically repeat what I’ve already said.
“I saw a guy floating around the bar not really landing anywhere. I saw him several times and then told the manager that he might want to keep an eye on him. About three minutes later I saw him take the purse off the back of the chair and move around the end of the bar.”
“You saw him take the purse.”
“Yes. He took the purse and rounded the bar. I alerted the manager and then circled the bar to stop him. When I got to him he didn’t have the purse.”
“Did you see him throw the purse away?”
“No. But I figured out what he did with it and found it in the trash.”
She asked a few more questions and then took all my personal information.
As she was finishing up a cop walked up and said, “You stopped the guy?” I said, “Yes.” He shook my hand and said “Good going.”
I found out later that they actually arrested him because:
Seems he finally gave them an ID. When they ran it through the system they discovered that it was a stolen ID. He finally gave them his real name and he had a warrant out for his arrest.
By this time it’s midnight. I’m still shaking. It’s adrenaline and nerves and exhaustion. I go to the locker room and call my boyfriend. He’s already in bed, but for some reason had not turned his phone off, and I gave him the three minute version. I told him I loved him and hung up.
I go back out on the floor and the girl who’s purse was stolen is there and wants to give me 20 dollars for finding her purse. I refuse the money and I tell her to 1. Tip the bartender. 2. Pay it forward. She agrees to both.
I finished up my shift.
The moral of the story: The young girl who’s purse was stolen, who was at the bar with her two friends for about three hours? That girl. Stiffed the bartender. Didn’t leave her a penny. Not one penny.
Karma’s a bitch!!!