i have some sort of genetic defect that causes me to be at least 15 minutes early every shift, no matter how much i don't feel like being there. I've even tried hanging out in my car and listening to the radio but i get all antsy and have to go on in. So there i am, touching up my section and assigning everyone's sidework. Frequently i'll pick up a table or two before the rest of the servers show up and this was the case last Thursday. It was a breezy sunny day so the patio was popular, and one of my first tables was a 3 top at the second patio table. It was Ma and Pa and their chunky teenage son. They were your average unremarkable table who i knew would leave me an average unremarkable tip so i was giving them regular service (none of that above and beyond crap here!). The only things of note about them were A.) they were sucking ice tea down at an unholy rate and B.) Junior's acne covered ass was hanging out of his pants for all the world to see. I pointed it out to some of the other servers and we decided to try not to seat the one table with the direct view of it.
well Ma and Pa turned out to be campers. They hoovered their food down the same way they did their drinks but they wouldn't leave, telling my they might get dessert later. Eventually the table with the view got sat, it was a young couple best described as "trailer park-esque". Their server was trying to get a drink order out of them when my table finally decided to pay, and i collected a beat up looking credit card from Ma. I went inside to run the card and Pa followed me in, heading for the restroom. A moment later the male half of the young couple came in and also headed for the mens' room. A few minutes later i dropped the credit card slip off and was about to head back inside when Pa and Young Guy both came through the patio door, Pa yelling "you need to have some respect!" Like a dummy i went on into the dining room--i'm not currently working at the type of place that has fights break out so i don't watch for the warning signs like i used to. The next thing i knew screams broke out on the patio while Pa and Young Guy threw chairs and ice tea pitchers at each other. Inside the restaurant it was like when a fight breaks out on the field of a baseball game and the entire team pours out of the dugout--all the employees and customers went racing to the windows looking out on the patio to stare at the guys throwing shit and yelling. The bartender started to call the police and someone yelled "she's calling the cops!" Young Guy heard that and jumped the railing surrounding the patio and took off running, leaving his girlfriend behind. Somehow he also left his shoes behind in the process, so he went running barefoot and ice tea drenched across the parking lot and out of sight.
to me, the jaded restaurant employee, the best part of all this was that nobody got anything for free. Ma and Pa had already paid up and left me $3 on a $37 ticket (woot!), girlfriend was required to pay for her and Young Guy's drink before she could leave, and the woman with the little kid on the patio didn't get her meal comped no matter how much she complained about her little angel being traumatized ('cause you KNOW two men throwing chairs was the highlight of that kid's day).