The service horror story to end all service horror stories
But this story, I think, takes the cake.
I'm not naming names. And I think enough time has passed since it happened. So without further adieu, here it is -- the service horror story to end all service horror stories.
It was New Year's Day 2007, and we wanted to get some brunch. Amie, me and our two friends from out of town decided to head to a restaurant (which shall remain nameless).
When we got there, the place was slammed, and a bunch of people were waiting for tables. We decided to stick it out.
One of our friends from out of town has type 1 diabetes. While we stood there waiting for a table, his hands began to shake. It looked like he was going into diabetic shock, which can be prevented by a quick infusion of sugar, from, say, a glass of orange juice (pictured) ...
So one of us (I believe it was Amie), frantically asked one of the servers behind the bar for a glass of orange juice. Our friend is diabetic, she told him, and needs some orange juice ASAP.
The server looked at our friend's shaking hands, looked at her, and said:
Take a second and think about that response.
Here was a customer, visibly shaking, in the middle of a medical emergency, who needed a glass of orange juice. Instead of trying to help him, the server actively denied him. Looking back, I still find this absolutely unbelievable. The server actually thought that someone would fake a diabetic attack to get a glass of orange juice.
What happened next? Well, our friend went into shock. He shook uncontrollably and collapsed on the floor. We called an ambulance. The paramedics came, took him outside and helped him get his blood sugar level back to normal.
The best decision would have been to leave this particular restaurant and go somewhere else. But our whole ordeal had scared away all the customers in line, and there was at least one empty table inside. So we decided to stay. We wanted breakfast, by God, and we had not come this far to go home hungry.
I ordered steak and eggs. When the plate arrived, I noticed that a big chunk of the steak was stained dark blue. I'd never seen anything like it. Was it mold?
I flagged down our server (thankfully not the same server who denied us the orange juice), and asked the server why my steak was blue.
"Oh, that's the Angus stamp," she said.
The Angus stamp?
Yes, the server said, that's how you know it's certified Angus meat -- it has a blue dye.
I had never heard of the Angus stamp. In fact, to this day, I've never heard anything about a blue Angus stamp -- and believe me, I've asked around. Even if there is such a thing, I don't care if it's certified USDA Prime filet mignon -- I don't eat blue steak, period. I sent it back. And I believe they comped me my plate.
After all this, you'd think we would never, ever go back to this place. But we still go there pretty regularly. And the service has been frequently terrible since then, but never as bad as that time. The location and the food and drink menu is pretty darn good, though, and we love the atmosphere.
Occasionally, we run into the server who denied us that glass of orange juice. But we've never brought it up in conversation. I wonder if the server remembers the incident. I know I'll never forget it.
(Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina Perna)