An Awkward Moment
A True Story
I quickly learned that knowing how to finesse a situation was an important part of my job. When I first moved to New York City I worked as a bartender in a neighborhood restaurant. The evening shift was usually busy, but I still kept an eye on the diners as well as the customers at the bar. A thirty-something couple came in one evening and sat in a booth, ordering dinner and drinks. I didn’t pay much attention to them as the waitress was taking care of their orders.
Things were fairly normal that evening until later, when the woman came to the bar to get my attention.
“Excuse me,” she said. “Could you help me?”
I stopped what I was doing. “Of course,” I answered. “What’s up?” Strange things always happen at a bar, so I already expected something out of the ordinary. But she didn’t appear to be one of the strange and drunken customers I sometimes encountered who made my job difficult.
She calmly explained that a half hour earlier her date went to the restroom and hadn’t returned yet. She was understandably concerned, and asked if I could check on him.
I said, “Sure. Give me a minute.” That was not something I wanted to do, but after I finished making a couple of drinks for my bar customers I made my way to the mens room as she watched from the booth.
I hoped I wouldn’t find anything terribly wrong. I entered the mens room and I saw no one, but I did hear something — the sound of loud snoring coming from the stall. There was somebody in there, and he was sound asleep, snoring away loudly.
“Uh oh,” I said to myself. Banging on the stall door several times I shouted, ”Hello! Wake up in there!”
From within came a “Harumph!… Huh, what?”
“Are you okay?” I said. “Your date is worried.”
It took a few seconds for the man to gather his thoughts, then he said, “My date. Uh, yeah. I’m okay. I’ll be out soon.”
I went back to the restaurant and discreetly told the woman that her date was fine, and would be out in a minute. I left it at that. No need to embarrass her about her evening, though I’m sure there were words exchanged when the man returned to the table.