Twelve years ago, after a very frustrating shift at a restaurant called VYNL on the Upper East Side, I came home from work and started a blog to express my exasperation with a woman from California who wanted me to turn off the television because she didn’t allow her daughter to watch TV while eating dinner. My very first blog post! That annoying little girl from 2008 is old enough to drink now and is probably doing so very heavily due to the fact that her mother is an absolute terror. I never stopped writing and this post that you’re reading right now is my 1,902nd one.
This blog has given me the opportunity to write a book and it’s gotten me on television more times than I can count. It’s allowed me to create and perform a one-man show here in New York City and around the country which is ironic because when I first moved here in 1993, it was to be an actor. I got a job a job as a waiter to allow me time to audition and it turned out that waiting tables is what let me be on the stage. Full circle moment right there, y’all.
I chose the name “Bitchy Waiter”on a whim with no thought about the future. I never expected anyone other than the people I worked with at VYNL to even read the damn blog, so there wasn’t much reflection about it. Had I put some thought into it, I probably would not have used the word “bitchy” since its been that very word that has been the most difficult to navigate over the years. It kept my book from being sold in Urban Outfitters. It’s kept me from being able to say the name of my blog on various TV appearances. Most surprisingly, in real life, I’m hardly a bitch at all, but “Bitchy Waiter” has evolved into a character that says and does all the things every server wishes they could say and do without fear of getting fired.
Today, at the risk of being not bitchy, I want to say how grateful I am for what this blog has turned into. I have really tried to evolve into a mouthpiece for the service industry, always standing up for the rights of servers while trying to also be funny. Sometimes I fail at both of those, but over twelve years, I do feel like my track record is pretty good.
During this pandemic, it’s become increasingly more difficult to write blog posts or create memes and videos. I mean, so many of us don’t even have jobs right now, so it seems inappropriate to complain about making hot tea. Today, I offer a moment of gratitude.
Last Thursday at the restaurant, two regulars come in. Well, she’s a regular and he’s her date or boyfriend who I’ve only seen one other time. On that visit, he left me a very generous tip which I didn’t notice until after they had left, so I didn’t get a chance to thank him. This time, I am ready to show my appreciation. I take them to the same table they had the last time and offer her her regular drink of choice, a glass of Prosecco. I am there for everything they possibly need, clearing dishes within seconds of them finishing, refilling their waters and ready to bring another round of drinks at any second. These people need to know I am earning that tip they gave me last time.
Tonight their bill is $116. I wish I could comp something for them, but I just don’t have that kind of power. The man hands me cash and tells me to keep the change. It’s not until I get behind the bar that I see he has given me two hundred-dollar bills.
“Keep the change?” I ask him, slightly astounded. “Are you sure?”
“Yeah,” he tells me. “These are difficult times.” I see him look around at the mostly empty restaurant. “We all gotta do what we can to help.”
Behind my mask, I can feel my lips trembling. I know my eyes are welling up with tears of appreciation. This couple is single-handedly making my night at work worth it.
“Thank you,” I tell him. “That is incredibly generous and I just can’t thank you enough.” With my hand over my heart, I thank him a few more times.
When they get up to leave, they both dutifully put their face masks back on and walk past the bar I am standing behind.
“Thank you again,” I say. “So much.”
She waves goodbye and he gives me a fist bump.
“Have a good night. Stay safe,” he says.
Thank you to him. And thank you to all of you who have been reading this blog for twelve years.