In the world of food service, the customer is always right. Thus, even when the customer was wrong, the employee is forced to take blame - a philosophy they have no choice but to accept with every paycheck. Yet what about when an employee is wrong, yet they are treated as if they are right...
Imagine a world in which spilling food and drinks, berating customers, and potentially causing a diner to suffer violent illness causes no blemishes on an employee's record. Those who have seen this world took to Reddit to share the moments they were convinced would be the last time they saw a co-worker in uniform, only to see them walk into work the following day. These are the most messed up things to happen at a restaurant that an employee, surprisingly, did not get fired over.
"This guy liked throwing ice cubes into the deep fryer. He'd stand far enough away that he wouldn't get splashed, which made it a complete surprise to the person working the fryer. If you've never done this, it kind of causes a mini explosion of bubbles in molten grease, which splashes everywhere and, at the very least, makes a mess. The lady who worked the fryer almost every day was an older woman from India, so believing in karma was literally the basis of her lifestyle. She was never violent and hardly ever said a bad word against anyone, so she never told him to stop.
When this got too boring, he started stealing kid's meal toys and chucking them into the fryer. It took longer for them to start melting, and if he couldn't get them out, we had to turn the thing off for the rest of the day because it took hours for it to cool off long enough to retrieve something, and then at least another hour to heat back up. Then one time I can't remember what it was that he threw, but it caught on fire and he ended up pulling it out with a pair of metal tongs and threw it in the sink. Then he turned on the water and made (to his surprise!) a BIGGER FIRE. Did he get burned? Yes. Did he get fired? No. Did he do it again? Sort of. He went back to ice cubes after that."
"I was working fast food and this old man came in demanding a senior sweet tea. We gave out free 'value sized' tea and coffee to seniors. But he didn’t want the 'value sized.' He demanded a large. When he was informed that the free senior tea only came in the value sized, he threw a tantrum and berated the poor girl working the front register until she was in tears.
My homeboy running back register was up front making a drop and heard this going on. So he shuffled the girl off and told the old hack that he would take care of it. This was when homeboy proceeded to grab a large cup, dip it in the dirty mop bucket, hawk a lougie in it, and fill it up the rest of the way with ice and tea. He handed it off to the old hack with a smile and old dude left with a smug look on his face like he just 'won.'
It never came back on him in the slightest. Everyone knew what was going on and even the managers turned a blind eye. Hopefully that butthead learned the valuable lesson to 'not mess with the people handling your food.'"
"I was working as a cook at an Italian restaurant and one of our morning cooks was a functioning addict. He had been known to deal out of the back and we would always have tweakers banging on the back door or even coming into the back to see if he was there. One day, the owner, who also was the head cook, and I were having a smoke break. I looked down and saw a sunglasses case on the ground. I picked it up and looked inside to see a good sized bag of crack, needles, and money.
I closed it fast and showed it to my boss. I told him that I thought it belonged to that cook. He just looked at me and said, 'You should probably give it back to him.'
I walked back in the kitchen and went up to him.
'Hey,' I said holding up the case, 'I think you dropped this.'
He just blankly stared at me.
'Where did you find this?' he asked.
I told him I found it outside and he grabbed it and put it in his bag. That was the last anyone talked about it. This was years ago and he still works there. Honestly, he was one of the best cooks there too and was overall a really great co-worker aside from the shenanigans."
"I worked at a Little Caesars and two people got caught getting it on inside the store. Both were managers, so they had keys to the store and went into the store in the middle of the night. They did it everywhere - in the freezer, on top of the pepperoni, on the manager's desk, and on the front counter. The reason they got caught was because they never cleaned up after the guy blew his load everywhere.
For some unknown reason, neither of them got fired. I was pretty sure the store owner kept on using the toppings they did it on. That was the last straw for me. I quit the next week."
"My bosses hired a new kitchen manager. His second day there he started trying to approach me and I made it known that I did not want a relationship with a fellow manager. He continued to touch me when I didn’t want to be touched and he kissed my hand when I tried to pull it away and I felt extremely uncomfortable. I talked to my GM about the situation and she spoke with him about it. He continued to get wasted at the bar and yell out my name.
I ended up getting fed up with him and made it clear that I was not interested and I would never be interested. He ended up getting off work and sitting at the bar again, continuously drinking. I witnessed him kiss two of my servers on the forehead and cheek. Both of them looked at me immediately and gave me the What the heck was that? look. I emailed the owners of the restaurant immediately and described the harassment.
The next day they pulled me to the side and asked me about everything. I was working out the last week of my notice and they told me I could continue working at the sister restaurant for the remainder of my time to separate me from the situation. The kitchen manager I was working with previously followed me down to the sister restaurant and I could clearly tell the owners were not going to do anything about the situation. He pretty much got away with everything. I ended up having an anxiety attack. It was my last week anyway, so I walked out of my job.
I found out later that night that the owners were telling staff members that I was lying about the harassment in order for me to leave the company earlier. The owners and that kitchen manager can rot away for all I care. Several of my employees are now putting in their notices and leaving the company due to loyalty to me and no longer wanting to work with a creep. I have a better job lined up, so now I get to relax and enjoy my friends until I leave the state for training."
"I used to work at a restaurant downtown in a decent sized city that also just happened to be two blocks away from a train station. It was an old building downtown and one of the first to be built in this city, built long before integration. It also had a hallway connecting our store to the other businesses around us. However, it was only used as storage for the restaurant.
One day we had a guy walk in dressed pretty steampunky. Not full on cosplay, but more like a 'I'm just your everyday weirdo' kind of fashion. He applied for a cook position and got hired. Everything was cool, at first. He was a little odd, but nobody noticed because, as my kitchen family knew, these jobs tend to attract oddballs.
Two weeks went by and our head chef, who was just fed up with ownership, quit mid-service. Dr. Strange (that was the nickname we gave him) started getting into the owner's ear about how he was such a great chef, how he could turn this place around, yada yada. The owner bit the onion and promoted to him head chef. Then, things started to get weird.
A week or so after he got promoted, Dr. Strange showed up to a shift four hours late with a boo hoo story about losing his place. He just got off the train and had nowhere to go. The owner bit the onion and, next thing we knew, the Dr. got permission from the owner to live in the back of the restaurant for two weeks until his pay kicked in and he got a place to stay.
A couple months went by with this guy living in the back. He kept putting off getting a place because, you know, free rent. It is also relevant to know that the owner was very absentee, so I'm not sure of how much he knew about this. Also, we were very tight knit so, at that point, nobody was really trying to tell on him, yet. During this in-between period, he did and said a lot of weird stuff. Here are some of the highlights:
He had nervous breakdowns in the middle of shifts. He was paranoid about the crew not liking him to the point at which he shut himself in the office on a busy weekend for the whole day and refused to talk to anybody. He posted drawings around the kitchen that were pretty gory - my personal 'favorite' was a unicorn stabbing its horn through the belly of a woman that bore an uncanny resemblance to the general manager. Bleak, dark poems and open letters were posted around the kitchen that were garnished with thoughts of self-mutilation and suicide. But, all of that was just the appetizers.
One slow day, half the staff was there just spitballing like normal. Dr. Strange decided to open up to us about some of his history involving a seven year stint in a Texas penitentiary. He had mentioned doing time often before this, but I think we all kinda took the stance that if you didn't want to know the answer, don't ask. This day, Dr. Strange decided we all needed to know and proceeded to tell us how he got locked up in Texas for beating his fiancée near to death because she challenged his very, very extremely fragile sense of manhood. He did his time, moved to Kansas City, met a new lady who said he had a small Johnson, and beat her too. Instead of going back to jail, he hopped on a train and landed here where he got off the train and walked directly into our restaurant and got hired on the spot. Needless to say, we were all shocked. But like any good infomercial, wait - there's more!
At that point worried for the safety of our co-workers, we decided to check out his living hall in the back one day when he wasn't around. Nestled in stacks of hotel pans and trash cans, we found his fort he made for himself. We found blankets, pillows, empty Jack bottles, two full 55-gallon trash cans filled with crushed up 24-ounce steel reserves and, oh yeah, six used needles and about a ball of H to boot. At that point, every other manager was like, 'This dude needs to go' and started telling the owner about all of this.
I'm not privy to exactly what happened in those conversation, but I know he still didn't get fired. In fact, a couple weeks after that, a bunch of us were going to a party after work, but we had to make a couple stops first. We ended up having to backtrack past the restaurant in the AM hour after we all left. Now, the place was on the corner and had these huge bay windows on both sides. On our way by, we saw Dr. Strange laying on the bar in underwear, drinking straight from the bottle, and watching TV.
I guess now would be a good time to note that there were no stores that sold adult beverages in walking distance from this place and it was safe to assume that every bottle we found, he stole from the bar. Upon seeing this, we snuck up to the window and snapped a picture to send to the GM so they could show it to the owner. Guess what? He still didn't get fired.
This is how he finally got fired:
A few days after that, the owner came down during the middle of the day to check on the restaurant. Dr. Strange was doing his thing as happy as a clam. This was a special day for him because we let him connect to the bluetooth speaker. Usually, we kept it far away from him because his music was always some depressing angsty teen stuff. While Mr. Owner was milling around, Dr. Strange decided to take a poopy. Remember what I said about this building being built before integration? Well it's time for that mentioning to shine.
The place had three sets of bathrooms - the white-only bathrooms, the black-only bathrooms, and the actual working restrooms. The black restrooms were used to smell test our sugar and flour or to burn pesky plants. One of the white restrooms was used for storage and the other was for the employee pooping throne. Dr. Strange took his phone with him to the throne and, after a period, his music went off and we started to hear the sweet sounds of him streaming adult entertainment. Everybody in the kitchen was like, What the heck? including Mr. Owner but, after a while, the sounds went off and we just laughed about it and carried on.
Now, the throne room shared a wall with the kitchen and, even though much sound didn't get out, if you were too loud and the kitchen was quiet, you could hear what was going on. As we sat there quietly chopping vegetables, we hear a huge sigh of relief, promptly followed by Dr. Strange returning to his cutting board, picking up his knife, and going back to work with the food we were supposed to serve our customers. The kicker was that the sink in the throne room did not work. Mr. Owner was livid and told him, 'Get the heck out, now.'"
"A guy who worked in a diner got mad at management. He filled the salt shakers at the tables with white powdered cleaning solution. People ACTUALLY got sick and sent back food left and right. There was no way to mix up the containers the two different products were in. It was malicious. He was the only one who could have done it and HE DIDN'T GET FIRED."
"I worked in a restaurant. The cook came in after his shift blackout wasted and high. He was belligerent and upset for no clear reason. He grabbed a 10" serrated bread knife from the counter and was swinging it around. Eventually, he picked someone specific to go after and started to move toward him and passed me.
One of the guys was moving in from behind to grab him so myself and another guy grabbed his knife arm and pinned it to the counter. At the same time, the dude directly behind him put him in a headlock. We took the knife, threw him toward the door, and told him to get the heck out. No one called the cops. I called the owner. He was not fired and worked his shift the next day."
"I worked at a buffet a couple years back and worked my way up from a dishwasher to line cook. One day, we had a guy from the same restaurant at another location switch to work at our buffet. At first he was cool. He was a very funny guy, witty, and a bro. It turned out he even had history working with my boss and some of the managers at this branch.
One day, we got slammed. I believe it was a Veteran's Day and, at Old Country Buffet, all veterans eat free on that special day. We could hardly keep up with the mob. As soon as we were putting food out, people were wolfing it down their mouths. Staff morale was at all time low due to some drama. This new transfer guy made it worse.
Things got so bad, he threatened to leave, and started yelling at everyone. He called out our boss for how inefficient he was at running things. He actually made the boss get on his knees and beg for him to stay and cook since we were so slammed that day. The level of disrespect toward our management was something I had never seen before. It disgusted me and, to my surprise, he was still working there after that confrontation. He was a total imbecile."
"This guy at the Dairy Queen I worked at did all sorts of crazy stuff. He pulled my hair, then screamed at me. He pushed an underaged kid with a lot of force. He called a 15-year-old girl a 'nice piece of meat.' This dude was 34. He threatened to kill his ex's dogs, as well.
This guy came to us from Illinois because he started dating one of the managers at my location. He had been through the prison system for the previous decade or so. His highlights included assault, arson on a car, and arson on a home. After he finally left, he would keep calling the store and hang up if anyone other than his ex answered the phone. He would come in and just stare at everyone that worked there. It got so bad that the GM started carrying a loaded weapon to work.
I would watch him through the security cameras and he would nonchalantly knock things off of counters and stuff, just to make someone else clean up his messes like it was nothing. He was particularly creepy towards little boys who were with their mothers. He would compliment the boy's moms to the kids and tell them that they needed to 'protect' her. All in all, he was one cracked walnut."
"I worked at a fast food restaurant. Some lady drove off in the drive thru and forgot her credit card in the machine. My co-worker then took the card and used it at a freaking gas station where there were hundreds of cameras, so they had video evidence. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I think she was in jail for a couple days and her parents bailed her out. She returned to work like nothing happened. It was bizarre."
"My friend worked at a deli. I was visiting him, just chatting, when one of his co-workers cut the tip of his finger off in the slicer. Instead of grabbing it and stopping the bleeding, he went, 'OWWWW,' and started waving his hand around like it was on fire or something.
He splattered blood all over ALL of the deli meats and salads. They had to close for the day, scrub everything, and throw away all the food. I still can't believe he wasn't fired for that one."
"I used to have a bar job. A colleague used to steal from the till. She would stick a couple of $10 bills in her bra when she thought no one was looking. I reported it numerous times. She used to drink almost a whole bottle from the optics, not pay for it and then drive home.
She also had a kid who was about 5 at the time. She was in a relationship with a nice guy, not the father of her kid, but she lived in his nice house rent free and he used to pay for most of her stuff. One day, she asked me to keep an eye on her kid. She went off into the dirty toilets with one of our regulars (a father of 7, who was in his 40s and was with his 21-year old-pregnant girlfriend and his oldest daughter was 19 at the time). When she came back from the toilet, she showed me a picture of his massive, ugly, veiny member. She had given him a BJ whilst I was forced to tend a busy bar alone and look after her daughter, whilst his heavily pregnant girlfriend sat there apparently oblivious.
She also messed around with some other dude around the back of the building. They were so wasted that when he thrusted into her, she slipped and her teeth went through her bottom lip. When my boss asked about the injury and what she was doing out the back, she made some crap excuse. We all knew the truth. My boss never fired her despite the theft, substance abuse, and promiscuity."
"I worked at Wendy's. My manager dropped a burger on the floor, rinsed it off and almost made me use it on a customer's order. I just waited until fresh meat came up and threw the other patty away. The cameras were watching, and the manager still works there. I don't work there anymore, nor will I eat there."
"The owner/'chef' was a verbally abusive substance abuser who would rather be in the dining area taking shots with her 'friends' who just came in for the free-flowing drinks. My first day was an absolute war-zone. We were hosting a wedding reception for a former employee and the place was PACKED. My boss was already wasted and in a terrible mood because a couple of her morning shift workers had walked out.
I believe one or two people on my shift caught wind and quit or didn’t show because nobody in the kitchen either had the skills to work the grill or knew the menu. I worked with the owner for maybe two hours tops before she vanished, leaving me and my buddy, who got me the job running the kitchen, along with three or four prep guys and two or three dishwashers. It was ridiculously crowded and hectic. Neither of us knew the menu and winged basically every single dish based on the descriptions and occasionally interrogating a server before they ran off.
On Day 2, I didn’t even go in. I couldn’t stand the environment, how the owner treated people, and how the food was prepared. A microwave does not belong in a commercial kitchen. Period.
On Day 3, apparently more people had quit over the Day 1 shenanigans. My buddy convinced me to come in because they were sinking. I was offered a higher wage so I said, 'Why not? I could use the money.' But I was going to need some mental support. I had an empty vial of liquid alprazolam (Xanax) and I figured if I did a quick rinse of that, there just might be enough residue left to help me steel my nerves.
It turned out that there was some residue left in there: a crap tone, to be precise. I blacked out before I even made it in. There were anecdotal reports of me just being incredibly out of it, staring at walls, just being an absolute crap worker, from what I gathered. The owner told a co-worker later that she thought I was tripping on some sort of psychedelics super hard. All I vaguely remember is getting into a heated argument with the owner toward the end of the day.
On Day 4, I wasn't not sure if I got fired, but I showed up anyway and not a word was spoken about the incident. Two weeks later, I was running the kitchen.
Another incident from the same restaurant involved one of the dishwashers. Employees got a shift drink, but you didn’t have to wait until your shift was over to enjoy it. Depending on the bartender, it could be several shift drinks. On this particular night, the bartender was in a 'pour your own' type of mood, so this dishwasher helps himself to two PINT glasses before passing out in the middle of the kitchen with his head under the sink. One of the prep guys came up and kicked him and the dishwasher feigned like he was 'fixing the drain pipe' down there until the prep guy dragged him out by his ankles. The owner didn’t see this one, but she heard the story later and laughed it off."