On Main Street

It is very apparent that the restaurant business attracts, and fosters, some of the least behaved individuals in society today. Restaurants do not do background checks, drug tests, or any other kind of verification, as to make sure these people off the streets are legal immigrants, not wanted for various aggravated assaults, and not hopped up to the brim of the eyelids on horse tranquilizers. This breeds a delightful mess of employees trying to make it through the trenches of a thousand long Friday nights serving pasta to those who wanted steak but ordered pasta and are now upset by the choices they made and decide to enact their revenge on the person nearest to them, the server.

Drugs never belong on any job site, unless it is your job to make drugs, and then really, you should probably find a new job. Unless you work in pharmaceuticals and then you should take a long hard look into the mirror and think about all the awful things people are doing to get the medication they need from those who sell it for far too much. One place you would certainly never see drugs is in the kitchen of a restaurant. You would be wrong. A Mexican immigrant, I could not begin to guess on the status of legality, named David washed dishes in the back of the restaurant for two months. Throughout that time, he lost several teeth, learned no English and brought crack cocaine to work daily. He exited the dish-tank, an industry name for the dishwashing area, and produced from his pocket a sizable amount of crack, an eight-ball’s worth to be exact. He never had a bigger smile on his face than showing us his good drugs.

The teenage girl, who made the salads, saw him do this and exclaimed loudly in the most disapproving voice she could muster, “David! That’s bad!” He was gone shortly thereafter and I never had to ask why.

A former coworker of mine walked into the restaurant from the rear entrance and, in full view of the customers, fell onto a large tray of food knocking it down. She, the daughter of the day manager of the restaurant, came into work too drunk to see straight. She was dismissed that day and I saw her a few times after that. I think she’s a mother now.

The basement, an awful unfinished mess, stored much of the unperishable foods and silverware, plates, and anything else that did not go bad. Frequently, by frequently I mean more than once, because let’s face it if your restaurant finds itself full of raw basement sewage having it happen twice is twice too many times. Without their knowledge hundreds of people ate full meals, while below them we toiled in the shit. Wiping up the muddy poop and vacuuming up the toilet water, our nice dress clothes we were required to wear becoming caked in whatever someone flushed earlier that day.

Matt made the bread and pizza. Everyday he would tell me, “Ryan, I’m going to burn this place down.” I would laugh and tell him he had better make sure I was inside when he did it. I later found out he lit his Audi on fire to cash in on the insurance money. He spent some time in jail and was now making pizza at a mid-range, very popular eatery. Years after I left, the place did catch on fire, in the hallowed basement. I always wondered if he finally did it and I continue to be proud of him, no matter what.

Ted Lindsay, of Red Wings fame, frequented the establishment and would always sit at the same table, with his wife. This table was in the section inexperienced servers would work. One such waiter, managed to dump a full glass of water on him; he was not pleased. Our best waiter was pulled from her section to serve him specifically. Once, Vladimir Konstantinov, famous for the limousine crash, came in to join us for Thanksgiving dinner, one of the busiest days of the year because apparently people cannot be bothered to cook for their own families and need to save all that time to wait in line for a big screen television. Anyway, I almost knocked him over while carrying a big tray of dirty dishes. That same day I ripped my pants and had to finish my shift with a giant hole in my crotch. Luckily our uniforms featured a giant apron I concealed in under. I should have used staples.

One of the line cooks who worked there would often pay my friends with steak to take him out to distant communities in attempts to get him laid. His go to was buying a bottle of yellow tail and attempting to woo women in many different ways. Whenever an attractive woman would walk passed the kitchen, he would call out “Phone Call line one”. This, of course, was to gain the attention of each man in the kitchen. I don’t think any of this ever helped him get laid. He dumped water on my friend once.

A very close friend of mine worked very hard to become a server at this restaurant. He spent years busing tables, waiting for his time to ascend to the truly awful rank of serving. He asked a woman who order a Shirley Temple for her ID. Later, he was let go for never washing his uniform.

When I quit, I left for good. There was no two weeks’ notice, no follow-up call, nothing. I simply vanished, the day before Christmas Eve, another one of the busiest days of the year. They were robbed last week because someone just walked into the basement and stole a woman’s purse. The manager, who has been the manager for many years, seemed very concerned and really went out of the way to make sure there was justice for this poor employee of his. He certainly did all of that.

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