As a server, it seems over the years I have gotten to see nearly everything there is to see. It really takes something for me to look at it and say "I've never seen that before."
A couple of weeks ago we had a blind man in with his seeing eye dog. This isn't anything new, we have a handful of vision impaired people who come to our restaurant semi-regularly. I've seen this guy a few times a year for quite a number of years, and this time he had a new dog with him. I wasn't waiting on him, but have before so I said hello and asked if I could greet his service dog. Always ask first, if nothing else, out of courtesy. The dog is working, even if it is just "laying there". Don't distract it, and for the most part just ignore it and things will go fine. But if you are going to greet it, wash up afterwords, OK?
So I ask Tommy if I can pet his new dog & get the OK. He's come in a slow period mid-afternoon, and is grabbing a bite to eat before catching his bus back home. He's been shopping for Christmas gifts in the area stores and wanted a quick lunch. He remembers me waiting on him, and even remembers a bit of our previous conversations. We chat for a few minutes and his food arrives, so I bid him good eating and get back to the side work the rest of my crew is neglecting.
As I am cleaning gum from under a table across the dining room, I hear a child yell and then quite a bit of commotion and see a mother and child make their way to the bathroom like they were shot out of a cannon. A approach the server who seems to have seen it all go down and ask what happened, now noticing two distinct piles of puke, one on a table and one on the floor, and the awful stench of partially digested food.
Stacy - in the process of becoming a trauma nurse - is the lady on the scene and gives me the lowdown.
"Blind guy's service dog started acting really strange. It got up and paced back and forth, back and forth really quickly about three times, from one edge of the booth to the other edge. Then this dog stiffens up - I thought it was going to drop some brown - and I'm telling you - it BLASTED a huge puke out on the floor. It was a river of dog puke." She points, no facial expression, she's used to this I guess from her studies to become a trauma nurse.
"Then that girl in 44 (table) sees it and starts to have fit. Moments later now she's puking it up too. And she did it good too. All down her dress, on the table all over her mom and in her mom's purse. Damn kid was going like Poltergeist. I don't know where she was storing it all. I'm telling you, it was coming out of her nose, and I seriously expected her to shit herself as hard as she was pushing it out."
So now there is puke everywhere, you can hear the girl screaming and crying in the bathroom, and the few other guests nearby are pretty grossed out.
When the manager explains to Tommy what just went down, Tommy offers to buy the family's lunch, since his dog set off the chain reaction, but apparently dad refused stating "She wasn't feeling well this morning, and I warned her that chasing Taco Bell with a box of Hot Tamales was going to come back to haunt her. Damn kids never listen."
Grand entertainment! And our manager, one of the best one's I've worked with, comped two neighboring tables food and then proceeded to clean up the puke (both piles) himself.
The grandest part of the story is that the server who was covering 3 of the 4 tables involved ended up making a bundle. Tommy left her a 100% tip (his meal was like $12 and change), dad of puke girl left a $20, and the comp table that was also in her section left $30 since they got about $55 worth of food comped. $60+ in tips and she didn't have to clean the puke!
Thankfully I didn't work near that section because the smell was pretty potent. I can handle a lot of things, but I'm telling you between the two piles, the smell was beyond description. Interestingly, Taco Bell and dog food look somewhat similar when puked back up. Just in case you were wondering.