Recently I had a conversation with a couple of old friends of mine that I used to work with at a popular chain steakhouse. We were talking about what all we remembered from the old days. One of them said in mid-conversation ‘I remember one day you did the nicest thing for me that anybody has ever done.’ Even though she was looking at me I still had to ask who she was talking to. Cause it didn’t sound like me. ‘I was talking to you, dummy’ she said. ‘Do you remember that day I was hosting and you were keying and that creepy old guy came in?’
I did. I remembered it well.
My friend (let’s call her Kins) was holding down the host stand with the accomplished ease which she always did. Kins was and is one of the best hostesses I ever worked with. She was always pleasant and polite, knowledgable about the menu and extremely competent at running a bustling host stand, which is not as easy as some would have you believe. Oh yeah and by the way Kins just happens to be one of the sweetest, most non-confrontational people on planet Earth.
This sleazy old douchebag came in and I noticed from the bar area that he seemed to be a little too close and touchy feely for the average customer-to-hostess interaction. After he was shown to the bar Kins gave a couple of tells indicating that she was upset about something. I had to use some of my poker skills to figure out something was wrong because being the consummate professional that she was, she would never let any customer coming through the door think that there was anything wrong with her mood, attitude or appearance.
So I went to the host stand and casually suggested (okay ordered) that she grab her ciggies and go inspect the back dock with me because I wanted to talk to her about what just happened. The other hostess took over for a minute and we went out back and she told me that this slimy cocksucker put his arm around her and grabbed her ass. Naturally she was upset at being violated but I was pissed.
My coworkers are really like my adopted family and Kins was no exception. I never had any sisters so I admit that I feel a bit protective for all my little sisters in the business, especially when they are meek and shy and as nice as anybody ever is to anybody else but they are that nice to everybody all the time. In my mind this old guy playing grab ass with my hostess was a grievous violation of several legal, moral and corporate codes but my course of action wasn’t entirely as cut and dried as it would have seemed. In a perfect world all I would have had to do was simply go up to the old skeevy bastard and kick him in his shriveled, wrinkly old nutsack and ban him from the premises forever. Hell, even in a slightly-the-way-it-should-be world I should have at least been able to kick him out and ban him without any hesitation.
But there were a couple of reasons that wouldn’t have been the smartest, best thing to do. That popular steakhouse chain restaurant was of course ultra-corporate Outback, where any anonymous complaint can end your career in an instant. Even that wouldn’t have been a problem if I could have counted on the manager on duty to support my decision (to boot and ban the pervo, not to kick him in da bawls obviously). I was working as the key manager on that shift, which is a glorified way of saying shift leader, so technically I had the authority to do so. If any of the managers at that store had wanted to boot a drunk or deal with a particularly nasty table visit they would have asked me to do it anyway. They all rode the social short bus and since I have the silver-tongued gift of gab, I specialized in dealing with the worst-behaved customers you can imagine.
However, the MOD that day was the infamous New Sheriff, the very worst assistant ‘manager’ and ‘human being’ I’ve ever seen, worked with, or heard about (notice the quote marks-I want you to notice the quote marks!). This guy had serious daddy [and other] issues that somehow resulted in him being a retched misogynist. He hated people in general and especially himself. Making the young girls that worked there cry made him as happy as a pig in shit. He even bragged about it one time. His flagrant abuse of the staff had forced me to bring the issue up at a recent manager’s meeting. My more-or-less exact words to the GM at that meeting were ‘New Sheriff is abusing the staff to the point where it is becoming a problem. 3 or 4 servers or hostesses come to me EVERY SINGLE DAY crying because of the way he dressed them down for whatever minor infraction he randomly chooses to come down on that day. If it was only one or two employees or the same ones over and over I wouldn’t even bring it up, but literally 3 or 4 and sometimes 7 or 8 people come up to me visibly upset EVERY SINGLE DAY because of the way New Sheriff treated them. This behavior is having a very real and negative impact on morale, plus it just makes this place a hostile work environment. If he keeps making this many servers cry like this we’re going to have to put the Wet Floor signs out.’
Being the kind of guy who drinks the tears of little girls like crack-laced Mountain Dew, naturally New Sheriff fired me for my perfidy a week or so later. A couple of weeks after that I was keying when the pervy grandpa came in and molested my hostess. The good sheriff would eventually fire me three out of the nine times I was fired from that place.
He was in the office playing solitaire or watching German poop porn or whatever he did for hours at a time while I was running the store, which was fine by me and everybody else that worked there. What should of happened was I should have gone directly to the MOD and told him about the crusty old fart feeling up a staff member and he should have instantly asked Kins if she wanted to get the police involved (she didn’t and wouldn’t and in fact did not even want to tell me about it at all because she didn’t want to cause a ‘fuss’), and if she didn’t he should have immediately told the guy to leave and never come back and why.
I didn’t go to him though. Nothing good would have come of it. He would have yelled at and reprimanded Kins for ‘rocking the boat’ and making the guest feel ‘unwelcome’ by making up fake accusations about a guy who’s just sitting there having a white russian. After all HE didn’t see anything happen, and if something did happen it would have been MY fault for letting it happen. And then he would have fired me. Again. This guy was waking up every morning getting on his knees, self flagellating himself for a while, sacrificing a goat and praying to his dear fluffy lord for any excuse to get rid of the guy who put a tiny little black mark on his record by calling him out on his atrocious management abilities. Those last two words were written sarcastically by the way.
What I did do was go up to the guy who, no slouch as a drunk, was just finishing his drink and told him we were taking care of his tab and then ordered (okay casually suggested) that he needed to leave and eat at Longhorn’s from now on and never come back. He got the gist of it and left quietly enough. As far as I know he never came back either.
Even though I handled the problem and nobody got fired for it I always felt like I let Kins down by not going totes medieval on his ass.
Fast forward about seven years to Kins telling me that she thought I had done the nicest thing ever for her.
‘Yeah JerBear I remember you were keying that day and that old man came in and put his arm around me and grabbed my ass. You came right up to me and told me to go smoke a cigarette and you came out there with me and calmed me down. And then as soon as you went back in you went up to that fat old bastard and slapped his drink out of his hand and put your hand around his throat and started choking his ass like Darth Vader pissed off at a stormtrooper for getting his space frappucino wrong or something and then you said, I remember this part very clearly, you said ‘Listen up you creepy fat loser fuck–this is a steakhouse not a whorehouse and NOBODY touches my hostesses like that!’
I then interrupted her retelling to say ‘Except me, right? I said nobody touches my hostesses like that except me, right? Cause that sounds like something I would say.’
‘No, you didn’t say that but you did kick him out and you didn’t even ask anybody if you could do it. I’ll never forget that.’
Hmmph. I had always thought that I had fallen face first into a barrel of tits and came out sucking a dick on that one but to her I was apparently the hero of the day. At the very least there is one more asshole out there who will hopefully think twice before failing to treat a restaurant hostess with . . .
Dignity and Respect
Me, The JerBear