Simply by virtue of the fact that I am a restaurant worker, I have, on any number of occasions over the years, found myself in the unenviable position of being called a thief. People leave all sorts of things in restaurants. I could open up my own optical shop with all of the eyeglasses folks have left behind. I’m surprised I’ve never found some forgetful parent’s sleeping toddler curled up in a booth at the end of a busy night. It’s shocking the valuable things people leave behind at restaurants — cash, jewelry, wallets, purses, and all sorts of computer-y things — in what I can only assume is their haste to make it home for the latest episode of “Dancing With the Stars”.
My all-time favorite boneheaded move occurred many years ago at a different place of employment. Still, I sincerely doubt that it will ever be matched. A Secret Service agent left his gun and his credentials at one of my tables. I’ve always been relieved that he wasn’t assigned to guard me! Ask me if he was happy that we called the police to report our findings? He was not. I’m sure there was no end to the hot water he found himself in following that lapse in judgment.
Having had that particular experience — and it was an experience — all of the other things folks have subsequently left behind pale in comparison. That’s why I didn’t get all worked up when I received a message from a coworker while I was enjoying a day off asking me to call the restaurant because management wanted to ask me a few questions regarding some guy’s missing iPad — an iPad that had, apparently, been left at one of my bar tables. He was so attached to it that it took him three days to notice it was missing and, of course, jump to the conclusion that the bartender swiped it. I was excited to discover that not only did he think me a thief, but that he also had the idea that I was a technologically ignorant one, too. The iPad he supposedly left at my table? It was an iPad 1.
Even I have a newer iPad than that.
Just in case his assault upon my character and my honest nature were not enough, he also managed to insult me further by stating that I was “old and tired”. That’s how he described me to one of my managers. (To be fair, I’m not the only Jackie at my job — to further confuse the issue, on the night in question we were both working the bar. Still, I think he could have used descriptors other than “old” and “tired”.) Frankly, I thought I looked alright that night. Clearly, I was mistaken in my assessment of my own appearance. Alas, there’s only so much an old, tired woman can do to make herself presentable.
His attack on my appearance notwithstanding, I was not too pleased to discover that he told the manager that “she”, meaning me, “had to have taken it”. Really? In the three days that had elapsed since his antiquated gadget disappeared, had he no occasion to miss his beloved iPad 1? Was he stricken with a weekend case of Ebola virus from which he experienced a miraculous recovery? Was he reenacting a Civil War battle where anachronistic toys, including his flip phone and his Atari, were prohibited? Perhaps he was just holed up in his house all weekend using his Tandy computer to catch up on the latest Apple products. I think he’s about five years behind. I hope that’s how he used his leisure time.
I hope he had our phone number saved on his Rolodex. I hope he didn’t have to dial “411” or search his Yellow Pages to obtain it.
Maybe he set this weekend aside to organize his VHS tapes or to make mix tapes for his Walkman.
When he ventures out to upgrade his iPad 1, I’ll bet that he will be pleasantly surprised at the turn technology has taken since he last had a reason to upgrade his tablet. Or, perhaps he found it underneath the seat of his Yugo or beneath his Members Only jacket in his entryway where he carelessly tossed it.
Hopefully this information will make those of you whose behavior resembles that of Hansel and Gretel — leaving trails of belongings in your wake — to think twice before you race toward home to enjoy the season premier of “Duck Dynasty”. Double check your area. Take your belongings with you. And don’t assume, if something goes missing, that the waitress took it. Chances are, she didn’t.
My coworkers enjoy poking fun at me — I decided to beat them to it by commemorating this, the latest in what I like to think of as “Adventures in the Food Service Industry”, with an appropriate graphic. They got a kick out of it. I hope you do, too.