ALIZEN, ME — Social norms were broken yesterday at Olive Garden when, unexpectedly, newly hired waiter Zach Muller quit his job to enjoy a meal with customers. It all started when Muller was serving a table and said the typical “enjoy your dinner” verbiage to his diners. In response, customer Jessica Smith absentmindedly answered “you too,” which Muller took to mean literally.
“I just finished giving my warning about the warm plates I had sat on the table,” Muller recalled. “One farfalle alfredo and one chicken parmigiana,” he said, mispronouncing farfalle, alfredo, and chicken.
The dining customer explained their side of the story. “You see, I work Monday through Wednesday in the library, Thursday at a thrift shop downtown, and then spend my weekend as an usher at the movie theater,” Smith told us privately. “I hear and respond to customers all the time, so sometimes, after a long week, you have an out-of-body experience. That ‘you too’ was entirely a slip of the tongue.”
Triggered by Smith’s instinctual response, Muller honorably ripped off his name tag, threw his apron to the floor, and pulled up a chair alongside Smith at the table. “I’d heard stories of customers slipping waiters their phone numbers on either the restaurant’s copy of the receipt or the customer’s copy, which always gets left on the table anyway. But who’d have ever believed I’d be asked out to dinner while on the job?” Muller said. “I must be a lucky guy!”
“I just want to clear up one thing — I was most definitely not asking Muller out on a date,” Smith clarified. “For one thing, I was on a date when this happened.”
“I don’t know. [Muller] seemed like a nice guy,” shrugged Alex Nguyen, Smith’s date that evening. “He did eat all our breadsticks, though,” she then hissed.
When Jay Archibald, the restaurant’s general manager, approached Muller’s table, Muller reportedly shouted, “I’m hungry as hell and I don’t want to work here anymore!” Archibald then backed away, avoiding any further confrontation.
“We had just hired that kid a week ago,” Archibald explained. “It was the kid’s first day, and he was only three-and-a-quarter hours into his shift. I was on my way to tell him he had a fifteen-minute break coming up.”
“Splitting up the bill was pretty awkward,” Smith said. “I bet if Muller had waited a little longer and quit after my meal was over, maybe he could have given us his employee discount.”
After the misunderstanding, Muller and Smith went their separate ways, but Smith wishes Muller the best. “I hope he finds a new job soon. Probably one without a lot of one-on-one customer interaction.”