I wait tables at a diner in Los Angeles. It’s not a glamorous job but it keeps bread in my basket. It’s a tip based gig so good customer service is the name of the game. And I’d like to think that I’m pretty good at my job but it definitely wears on me from time to time. Recently, I had a night to remember. This is my story of waiting on Aaron Rodgers, star quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.
First, let’s set the scene. I started my shift at 9pm. It normally goes until around 2am (we close at 4am) but a funny thing happened, the other server showed up wasted and was instantly sent home. That means I’m now closing. Great. Also one of the bussers didn’t show so we were even more short staffed. Plus the kitchen didn’t prep the daily special that everyone keeps ordering. Needless to say, I was cranky pants for most of the night.
Around 2:30 am it happened, a group of five takes my big booth. I go get drink orders and that’s when I realize. Seat 3 is Aaron Fucking Rodgers. The cherry on top of a shit sundae of a shift. Now, I have to play nice to the one pro athlete I hate the most. What a joke. I’ve watched Aaron Rodgers single-handedly destroy my Detroit Lions for the last decade. I legit despise this guy. Don’t get me wrong, he’s real good at football, that’s why I dislike him. Because he always guts me and my team. I’d list all the terrible moments but it would just get me all worked up. So, I smile and nod, while Rodger’s buddies order oreo milkshakes. I tried to find someone on the staff who could understand my predicament but with no other football fans around, I went into the back and sent a text to Alex.
Alex brought up a good point. What am I going to do with this opportunity? Spit in his food? Turn my back on my city and ask for a photo? Do nothing and stew quietly (my traditional go-to)? Or maybe something bold? I had a little time to game plan. I went back and got orders. Aaron Rodgers orderd the breakfast burrito and as quick as he can read a cover-2 defense, I up-sell him on adding bacon (extra $2.50!). He bites hard on my offer. Point Bruno. Rodger’s little sidekick dittos the order, “I’ll have the same.” I can tell this happens a lot with this guy. The others get cheese fries, a breakfast sandwich and a club sandwich (no tomatoes).
Aaron Rodgers & Co eat their food, I check in, all gravy. No dessert, no coffee, they are ready for the check. Shit. Game time. I follow Alex’s lead and write “Go Lions” on the bottom of the receipt. I fold it lengthwise, as per usual, and go to drop it to everyone’s favorite NFL star. But before I can get there, the short blonde pulls out her Amex and insists I take it. Fuck, he may not see my message now. I run the card and return to the table, the check is unfolded, face up. Maybe he saw it? We’ll never know.
The table stands and slowly makes their way to the door. I’m at the computer, closest to the the front. Aaron Rodgers is 5 feet from me. I get the idea, I should tackle him. I push that idea out of my head and then another thought creeps in. I look at Rodgers and say “Hey man”, he looks at me. We lock eyes, I say “we’ll see you at Ford Field this year” he rolls his eyes and gives a sarcastic “yeah” and then walks out.
I was on cloud nine. I felt so cool and tough. In my head, I told off a millionaire. The reality is, I’m not even going to the Packers at Lions game, I was just saying that as the royal ‘we’, like the Lions and I will see you later this year. Even funnier is to think of this story from Aaron Rodger’s perspective. He came in, got some okay food, decent service, then a stranger made a vague reference to seeing him later. End of story.
Short blonde friend did tip $20 on $75.69 which is like 26%, which I’ll take all day. There was also a moment where I considered, “what if Aaron Rodgers gets mad about the ‘Go Lions’ thing and doesn’t tip me?” but I already hate him, if he didn’t tip me, then this would be a very different story. Either way, worth it.
Nobody eats for free.
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