As all six of you who read this know, I have been a server and host at a restaurant in DC for the past year or so. I’ve worked there full time since last August and, after quitting my other full time job, only there since around Thanksgiving. For almost a year, I’ve dedicated around 50 hours a week to setting the place up, closing it down, providing quality service to our patrons, and training about half the current staff who works there and even a few who don’t. I predate current management there by five or six months. That said, I was fired today as a result of a particularly heinous incident last Friday night.
The manager on duty was Dickensian in his malice and downright petty in his machinations. He rode people he despised like dogs, usually the young and hard-working servers, and heaped praise upon his chosen favorites, who were slackers and ass-kissers for the most part. Not to make this a racial issue, but he tended to favor other African-American staff and belittle the Caucasians. The Hispanic staff he treated like nothing more than dirt. He was known for covering his own ass, throwing staff under the bus whenever it suited him, and doing anything in his power to make himself look good, be it giving away free drink and dessert or humiliating staff in public.
This monster was working last Friday night and was riding people like there was no tomorrow. For the most part, he was leaving me alone because I was one of the most qualified staff and he knew I don’t normally take well to pricks using me as an example. He laid off me for the entire night, only using his power to make me close the restaurant when he knew I had a double the next day in order to piss me off. I barely thought anything of it and went about the routine of taking care of my tables. Our kitchen closes at midnight, and at twelve, I had two tables to speak of. They were both friendly, well-behaved, and quite courteous. As 12.01 rolls around, I see him seat one of my tables. Desperate not to show my anger, I greeted the guests with a friendly smile and reminded them that the kitchen would be closing soon so they should be getting their orders in quickly.
As I checked on my other tables, my boss approached me and berated me in front of other staff and my two other tables, demanding to know why I hadn’t sent the late table’s food back yet. He then walked over to the table – a quiet, shy, non-threatening Hispanic couple – and literally screamed at them to hurry up and make their order. He said to them, “You have to decide what to eat immediately,” and quickly sat down with a table of white, homosexual patrons. If this table had been the table with which he had been sitting (which was not only unprofessional but completely against company policy), he never would have raised his voice. If this table had been white, and especially if they had been good-looking and gay, he would have bought them drinks, dessert, or even discounted their meal. Alas, they were not. And they were humiliated.
I walked over to the table, apologized for his behavior, and took their order. As I walked their menus up to the front, a single man walked into the restaurant. I told him that I was to sorry to say that our kitchen was closed since it was well past twelve, but that the bar down the street was still serving food. He thanked me and went on his way. At this point, my manager came up to me and, again, in front of several other staff, belittled me for turning away the customer. He informed me that we had not closed yet and that, in the future, I should ask him before telling someone we couldn’t serve them. This was where I lost it.
I demanded to know why this was the case when my quiet couple that he had sat late was taken to task for not ordering quickly enough. I wanted to know how he got off screaming at me and my customers because our schedules didn’t meet his exact whim, and why after he had just finished yelling at a two top, he thought I would willingly seat another table. He responded that it didn’t matter what anyone thought, he was the boss and he was just doing his job. He literally said, “I can do whatever I want.” As the entire restaurant and staff watched, I laid into him and openly mocked him for his ridiculous double standards, unnecessarily childish behavior regarding the previous table, and offered him to seat another table in my section that had just walked in.
I was suspended later that night and informed today that I no longer work there. The entire staff agreed with me. And by the way, the table that he sat late were in tears and asked me if there was any way I could pack up their dinner to go.