10 Times Waiters Saved the Day
The common stereotypes associated with servers is they’re
either teenagers still enrolled in school and simply making ends meet or older
women who have been waiting tables longer than they would like to admit. In most
cases, people assume servers lack college educations or the skills to do
anything more distinguished.
In truth, however, many waiters and waitresses are people
who enjoy what they do and make good money doing it. Occasionally, a server proves
to be a person who goes above and beyond just taking an order and bringing a
patron a burger and fries. Here are 10 notable times that people with jobs some
might find less than glamorous ended up being referred to as heroes.
10. Providing a Helping Hand
On April 24, 2016, a customer at Cinco de Mayo restaurant
in Douglasville, Georgia, ordered a meal. He then asked for assistance eating
the meal because the man had no hands.
Alex Ruiz, a 22-year-old waiter, did not hesitate to sit
down and assist the patron (LINK 1), even talking about life with the customer.
A regular patron at Cinco de Mayo saw the gesture and snapped a photo and
posted it to Facebook, where it was widely shared.
9. Standing Up for Less Fortunate
Milo Castillo was a 5-year-old child with Down Syndrome.
Michael Garcia was a 45-year-old server at Laurenzo’s Prime Rib in Houston who often
served Milo and his family. When a family said “special needs children need to
be special somewhere else” in January 2013 and asked to be seated away from
Milo, Garcia refused to serve the customers (LINK 2).
“‘How could you say that?'” Garcia asked the customer.
“‘How could you say that about a beautiful 5-year-old angel?'”
Not only did Laurenzo’s support Garcia, but many people
around the country did too. Garcia received several donations and presented the
$1,145 in contributions to Milo’s school, the Rise School of Houston (LINK 3).
8. Thwarting a Robbery
On October 12, 2017, three would-be robbers attempted to
steal money from the register of a Northwest Side IHOP in San Antonio just
after 6 a.m. Elijah Arnold, a certified sous chef, had only been on the job for
a couple weeks but sprang into action. While Arnold suffered three compound
nose fractures and a shattered cheekbone after one of the assailants struck him
in the face with a crowbar, Arnold was a third-degree black belt who proved
able to subdue the criminal (LINK 4).
Arnold held the suspect down until authorities arrived,
although the man and woman who were with the attacker got away. Arnold lived in
a Northeast Side Walmart parking lot out of a broken down Infiniti he bought for
$400, but received a $1,000 award from Fox San Antonio’s CASH FOR KINDNESS
program (LINK 5).
7. Saving Soccer Fans Seeking Shelter
Manchester City and Napoli are rivals in the UEFA
Champions League, and four Man City fans were being pursued by Napoli hooligans
late one night on the eve of a game between the two teams in February 2017. The
four sought refuge in the Attori and Spettatori pizzareia in the waterfront
area of Naples.
It was there that 59-year-old waiter Giuseppe Liberato suffered
a fractured nose and bruised ribs (LINK 6) protecting the four Man City fans as
the hooligans threw chairs, tables, and plates. The Man City fans were
ultimately able to escape the frightening scene that one worker assumed was a
robbery, and Liberato needed a month off to recover from his injuries.
6. Helping Others in Harm’s Way
Sam Valencia was a waiter at Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa,
California who also served as a caretaker of property on Atlas Peak Road. On
October 8, 2017, the 30-year-old Valencia received a phone call from a friend warning
him to leave because a fire was headed his way.
Valencia drove down the road and knocked on the doors of several
neighbors to ensure their safety. He also came across a stopped Toyota pickup with
its rear wheel off the ground and tires spinning. The couple inside the truck
credited Valencia with saving their lives (LINK 7), and the waiter was credited
with saving at least six lives that day.
5. Gag Reflexes
Karli Walters’ 9-month-old son Kyle began choking on some
french fries at a restaurant in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada on August 29, 2016. Mychel
Hendricks was a server who was also a fitness instructor with CPR training. He
ultimately helped Kyle spit out the food after the child began to turn purple
(LINK 8). Hendricks was later honored by Kitchener’s mayor and council.
On March 7, 2014, a 3-month-old with Down Syndrome began choking
during a bottle feeding at Longhorn Steakhouse in Harlingen, Texas. Jacob
Escamilla, a 19-year-old waiter at Longhorn who learned CPR from his sister,
was credited with saving the child’s life. He was awarded $400 by GEF Financial
and Action 4 News—money he ultimately gave to the mother to help pay for
medical expenses (LINK 9).
Certain states require establishments to post signs
depicting the Heimlich maneuver or anti-choking techniques, and some states
provide immunity against civil damages for employees who attempt to assist in
the removal of food lodged in the throats of patrons.
4. On Board a Sinking Ship
Michael Skippen was the headwaiter on the Herald of Free
Enterprise ferry. On March 6, 1987, bow doors left open on the ferry caused the
vessel to capsize in shallow water not far from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.
The disaster killed 188 people.
Skippen was among the fatalities, but many others of the 545
passengers were saved because of the headwaiter’s efforts to help them out of
the ferry’s submerged restaurant (LINK 10). Skippen was posthumously awarded
the George Medal, the United Kingdom’s second-highest civil award bestowed for acts
of great bravery.
3. Quietly Making a Difference
In July 2016, an elderly tourist was being mugged and
threatened with a knife by a criminal in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood
of Washington, D.C., when a waiter at the Dignitary Bar in the Marriott Marquis
hotel ran across the street to prevent the attempted armed robbery. The waiter
kicked the mugger in the chest before some fellow citizens assisted in scaring
away the mugger (LINK 11).
While the suspect ultimately made off with the victim’s wallet,
he did leave behind a shirt and the knife. The waiter did not wish to be identified
for his efforts.
2. Blocking the Doors
During the London Bridge terrorist attack that killed
seven people and wounded 48 others on June 3, 2017, terrorists attempted to
enter Arthur Hooper’s Bar in Borough Market. Sergio Farina, a waiter originally
from Spain, was seen on surveillance video barricading the doors with his own
body weight (LINK 12).
Farina was credited with helping one pedestrian take
shelter in the restaurant, but prevented an attacker from gaining entry. Farina
said he “could have left, as everyone did, but I would have left 28 people
1. Singing a Different Tune
One segment in the 1966 NBC documentary
“Mississippi: A Self-Portrait” featured Booker Wright, a black waiter
at Lusco’s in Greenwood, Mississippi, singing the menu to the largely white
clientele. Wright openly discussed the racism he endured as part of his job,
saying that he was motivated to provide a better life for his three children. “Just
remember, you got to keep that smile,” Wright said (LINK 13).
Wright ultimately owned and operates his own restaurant
and bar, Booker’s Place, but he was shot and killed by a black customer in his
own establishment. Wright’s comments in the documentary still established him
as an important part of the civil rights movement.