I Literally Work With a Baby

What a fucking baby.

I arrive to work for my normal Thursday open to close shift, getting there at 4:00 and preparing myself to stay until we close at 11:00. I am the only server on Thursdays and I split the tips with the sole bartender. It’s a good system and I have no need of a food runner or busser. As I am mopping the floor (more like dragging a damp mop around the restaurant…), I see a kid knocking on the door of the restaurant. I assume he is selling candy bars for his basketball team and I do the same thing to him that I do to customers who want a fourth glass of water, which is pretend I don’t see them. He continues to knock and I think, “Damn, this kid really wants to sell some candy.” I ask our cook Juan if he recognizes the boy at the door and what Juan tells me chills my heart:

“Oh, that’s the new bus boy.”

Wait, what? Bus boy? When did this happen? Why do we need a bus boy and more importantly, how much do I have to tip him out?

I reluctantly go to unlock the door and he rushes in apologizing for being late. “I’m so sorry, sir. I don’t get out of school until 3:30 and I had to run home to change before I came to work.” With that, he zooms down to the basement to deposit his bag and begin work. When he comes back upstairs with his apron tied around his waist, he sees that I have already “mopped” the floor, something I have done every Thursday for months upon months.

“Oh, you already swept the floor and mopped? I’m sorry.”

Now, I’m not only pissed that I am going to have to share my tips, I am also pissed that I did something that I didn’t have to do. I go to find the manager.

“What’s up with the kid? We have a busser now?”

“Yeah, he’s training. Now that spring is here and we are about to open the patio, you’re gonna need some help. He’s 17 years old, so be nice to him.”

Seventeen. He is even younger than I thought he was. My mind is spinning as I think of how many things I own that are older than this bus boy; certain pieces of furniture, photo albums, my Birkenstocks, the t-shirt that I sleep in… I am depressed. I am old enough to be his father and quite possibly older than his parents are. I am going to have to share my tips with someone who is younger than certain bottles of scotch. He told me his name, but I filed it into the same part of my brain that stores the list of our bottled beers, so unless he writes his name down on the menu, I will never recall it.

When our shift meal is presented to us, I get my plate and head back to my usual spot ay Table 16. Like a puppy, he follows me and when he gets too close to my table, I look at him and gnash my teeth like an old poodle who doesn’t want to share his food. He obediently sits down at Table 15.

“Where did you go to school?” he asks me.

In between taking photos of my ugly shift meal for Instagram, I answer him.

“High school? It was in Texas so I’m sure you don’t know it. And I went to college at Hunter.”

“Oh, I’ve heard of Hunter!” he says excitedly. “I love school. Today we learned all about colors and shapes. And my teacher, Miss Stephanie, sang a song to us about the rainbow.”

I snap another picture of my shift meal and concentrate on which filter I should use.

“This one time? At lunch? This kid was throwing his food up and then catching it. Well, not throwing it up like vomiting, I mean throwing it with his hands into the air. It was so funny. But then Miss Stephanie told him to stop it. Then it was nap time.”

“Uh huh.”

“Hey, I know my A,B,C’s, you wanna hear ’em? And I can jump high in the air too. Watch this!”

I look up from my phone and he is leaping off the booth and onto the floor. He does it three times and after the last time, he falls to the ground laughing.

“Man, I felt like Superman! But I like Batman better, don’t you? I mean he lives in a cave! I wanna live in a cave. But my mommy says we can’t live in a cave because Batman isn’t for real life.”

He continues his incessant babbling until he abruptly stops. His eyes widen and his mouth forms a pouty little frown. It looks like he is about to cry.

“Uh oh,” he says. “I think I just went wee wee in my Underoos.”

Finally, he has said something that interest me.

“I used to love Underoos. I didn’t even know they made them anymore, that’s awesome.”

He is not listening. Tears are streaming down his face and he is trying to call his mother on his cell phone, but his phone is one of these:



My point is: the new bus boy is a child! I work with a child.

25 thoughts on “I Literally Work With a Baby

  1. jason

    omg the phone at the end killed me. i am going to crack up all day b/c of that. I used to have that phone when i was a kid:)

  2. Justin

    I had a similar experience when applying for a job at a chain restaurant. The server who took my resume asked if I wanted to see the manager, and I said yes. This 18ish kid walks out and starts asking me all the application questions, and I was so floored by the idea of having to explain to this kid why I want him to be my boss that I did a terrible job answering. I did not get a callback (shocker!)

  3. Gilbey

    The GIFs that have a habit of appearing on nearly every post are annoying.

    P.S. Please proofread and edit, after years of writing these posts I shouldn’t see several glaring instances in each post where auto-correct filled in with a different word than intended, non-words, random characters and missing words.

    P.P.S. Don’t let the babby drink the leftover wine and get bent over a dumpster in the alley.

        1. monica

          I wasn’t aware the childfree crowd has in-jokes. I thought it was just a joke on the internet. Hmmm. I don’t have kids but i guess I’m not cool enough to be part of the -childfree crowd-

          1. Reginald van der Slythe III

            Well, you’d only be part of the childfree crowd if you never, ever intend on having kids. If you do wish to have them someday, you wouldn’t be childfree.

            It was an internet thing to start, but there are some childfree people that took it and ran with it. In fact, with their usage of it, I’m wondering if Gilbey haunts a particular forum that I’ve seen “babby” used on a lot…

  4. Dawn

    Sorry, I usually agree with you, but, this time as I read your post I actually thought your new coworker was a special needs child and I was waiting for the moment the light went on in your head and and started being nice. I have a disabled son who sounds like your description. It was painful to read in not angry, I know it’s a joke, I know your style and read your blog regiliously. It just struck a chord. I thought you should know.

    1. Reginald van der Slythe III

      You must have a body like Gumby’s, the way you stretched to find something to offend your oh-so-delicate sensibilities with. Wow.

  5. Ryan

    Oh Bob. Please enlighten us on how BW treated the kid like shit. Someone had a shitty first day of work, and I’m guessing it was you. Did you even read the whole story? Or was it the bit about him weeing in his underoos that sent you down memory lane?

  6. Luis

    Bob, chill the fuck out. It’s a piece of fiction. A blog. Creative writing. Guess you’re new around here.

  7. brie

    We expect it on our first day in a new restaurant that’s how the restaurant staff tests weather you have the guts to stick around or not I have worked with some of the rudest waitresses and waiters ever most cooks are vile creatures who love to just stair at my tips and will try anything in there power to figure out some way to make it seem like they are not trying to touch my ass but I love them if it wasn’t for my cooks I don’t know what I would have done now as for the young busser it’s our way of giving him thicker skin for when he makes that jump that every busser makes I want to try serving it gives him a thick skin for when he will and he will have a drink thrown in his face or for when one of his customers gets to drunk at the bar sits in his section and then when he comes to take his order throws up on his new convers high tops he saved a months worth of tips to get we are just trying to help the kid get the same blisters on his soul as we have on I ours

    1. Nicole

      Idk. I’ve worked in a lot of restaurants and most of the time the staff was always really nice and helpful when I first started. I did work in one place where the entire staff was seriously sociopathic. idk how they all ended up there together.

  8. Bob

    You had a first job at one time. Did someone treat you as shitty as you treated this kid? You’re an asshole.

    1. Felicia

      Lol at what point was he actually rude to the kid? I would have acted the same way, I DO act the same way. I don’t like talking to people while I’m eating either. Obviously this story was a joke but he never was a dick to the kid in the story, just a tired bitch waiter.

      1. DHB

        The Bitchy Waiter is an asshole for having an agist attitude. I’m older than he is and I don’t treat the high schoolers who work in my shop like that because they are human. They are just starting out.

        And another thing, Bitchy Asshole Waiter, learn the meaning of the word “literally.”

  9. Tina

    I legitimately just experienced this the other night….My host/busser was listening to me talk about a band from the 90’s and I looked at her and go “were you even born in the 90s?” Nope. 2000. She was born in 2000. Her b-day was in January..she’s 15..we can hire 14 year olds as bus people where I work…and it makes me feel like a grandma.


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