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NO STINKIN’ BADGES

20 Apr
bar by Junk Food Critic
bar, a photo by Junk Food Critic on Flickr.

I will keep the names out of this story because I know they read this. There is a restaurant that I frequent for brunch quite often. I love the food and I always get great service there. I have become casual friends with the staff, mainly because they see me so often. This past weekend I was there, and I saw/overheard something that I just couldn’t get off my mind.

The server is a twenty-something male and is a very quiet and respectful guy. He has a wife and family. From what little I know of him, he is your typical family man. Loves his kid and all that. I say this because he was put in a situation that called into question his honor, loyalty, and sensibility. At least to me, anyway. And I am always interested in how people respond in these types of situations.

The table next to me, had about ten people in their party and all wanted booze. The server walks over and asks for ID, because a couple of the girls looked underage. The young lady produces an invalid ID. From what I would later learn, it was an ID from somewhere outside the U.S.

The server advised her that since it wasn’t valid, she couldn’t be served. Everyone at the table started complaining and making trouble because she was the only one without valid ID. But the server stood his ground and apologized and offered to get her a soda instead. She refused to eat or drink anything now, in protest.

Here is the twist: The guy sitting next to her produces his policeman’s badge. He tells the server “It’s okay, I am a cop. You can serve her.” The server politely declined and made way to get the drinks.

As the server walked away, I overheard this “cop” say “I will just order a drink and give it to you”. They all kept mumbling about how the server “sucked” and the place “sucked” and how the server wasn’t “cool” because he wouldn’t hook them up.

Now, I have information on this restaurant that this table isn’t privy to: about a year ago, during a crazy rush, one of the bartenders was slammed by a big party, and even though he checked IDs, he didn’t look close enough. One of the girls was underage and working with TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) doing sting operations. That bartender had worked for the company almost 12 years. He was fired on the spot.

The staff were shocked at the dismissal of the bartender, but understood it. So they were VERY adamant about that sort of thing going forward. My server knows this story, so I am certain he is in NO rush to repeat that guy’s mistake. He has a wife and kid to think about.

The server returned with drinks and took their food order. He walked away but gave a quick glance back to see what was going on. The guy is not stupid. When “the cop” changes his order to match what the “problem girl” ordered it was kinda obvious. So he watched as he slid that drink over and she took a sip and slid it back over.

The server went and found his manager and told them what was happening. She lingered around until she saw what was happening for herself, and then she walked over and removed the drink from the table and told them they would no longer serve serve them if they were going to behave this way.

The cop flashed his badge again, and the manager was not having any of it. The server memorized the badge number so he could check later and see if it is even a valid police ID. The table decided they didn’t want to stay, and cancelled their order and left.

Now some might think this is such a small issue. It’s just a drink. Well, no it’s not. What if this was a set-up? I am sure that thought was running through the server’s mind. But he stuck to his guns. That deserves respect. Is it even my business? Not at all.

The reason this stayed on my mind for so long is because this “cop” using his badge (while clearly-off duty) for his own personal gain really makes me wonder what ELSE this cop tries to get away with using his badge.

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