The Worst Breakups Servers Have Ever Seen

breakups in restaurant
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

Approximately 99.9% of the Earth's surface is not a restaurant. Yet despite overwhelming odds, it seems like most public breakups happen over a dinner table in some unfortunate establishment. It's like dinner theater, except somehow sadder.

Servers have pretty much seen it all, which is why we polled a group of industry veterans about the weirdest and worst breakups they've ever witnessed. The names have been withheld. The crazy remains untouched.

The bombshell

"Not only is this the craziest breakup I've ever seen, it's the most absurd thing in any restaurant I've ever seen. Actually it might be just the craziest thing I've seen, ever, period.

"This guy was having dinner with his family -- wife, two kids, the whole works -- and right in the middle, this woman comes in and walks right up to the table without saying a word to any staff. This woman is a mess. Her makeup was running. She was having a rough go of things. As soon as she got to the table, the husband's face went as white as a ghost in Alaska. We all knew what was about to go down.

"Honestly I wish I could tell you exactly what was said, but it was such a commotion with everyone screaming and every single person in the restaurant -- staff and customers -- trying to check out the action that I didn't catch a lot of the words being thrown around. But essentially, this woman had no idea her 'boyfriend' was 'happily married' and tracked him down to this restaurant to confront him in front of his wife and kids.

"The wife took the kids outside while the dude tried to calm the woman down. But the damage had pretty much been done. I'm not sure what the aftermath of all that was, but hopefully both ladies dumped the dude. Though I'm not sure this was the best way for it all to go down. I kind of just felt bad for the kids. Oh well."

The bathroom bail-out

"This was like something straight out of a movie. This dude did not want to see his girlfriend again -- I'm really not sure why. They got into a bit of a fight, not a big scene though. Then he went to the bathroom in the back and actually climbed out the window. None of us had ever seen anything like this. Now, our place is right alongside the beach, so he dropped right into the sand -- like a 15ft drop -- and just took off.

"And it's not like this was a first date: They had probably been going out for a few months. After it happened the woman actually stuck around and talked to us because we were all (obviously) super-interested. This was the most extreme case of ghosting I've ever seen. He left her with the bill, too -- but our manager comped her. So yeah, chivalry is not dead."

The drink-face summit

"This wasn't my table, but I was serving the guests right next to them, so I saw the whole thing go down. The second these two people sat down you could tell things were heated and definitely not OK. They kept doing that thing where they whisper so loud they were basically yelling. And then the guy must have said something horrible, because his voice dropped really, really low.

"Her expression went blank and in less than a second her drink went right into his face. It was one of those fruity martinis too, so it just turned his entire shirt this electric-green color. She booked it immediately. But he sat there and took it, waited for us to bring out their check, paid, and dipped. He was still dripping wet when he walked out to his car."

worst breakups
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

The breakup, makeup, breakup

"I saw this couple break up immediately when they walked in the door. Like, they had fought the whole way in the car and it finally hit its apex right when they got inside. So they were done before the hostess could even seat them, saying they were 'over' and that 'it was for real this time.'

"Now for some reason they decided to stick with it and still have dinner. And the hostess -- in all her benevolence -- decided to stick them in my section. I prepared myself for the most awkward table of my life. These two guys had just broken up with each other, now I was supposed to make small talk with them and sell them on our lobster bisque.

"Lo and behold, when I came back they were on the same side of the table playing an aggressive match of tonsil hockey before they even heard the specials. I gave them a few minutes to -- ahem -- figure it out, and when I came back everything was peachy. But by the time I gave them their check, one of the dudes was in tears, and the other dude was apologizing profusely for refusing to apologize. I feel like they might do this a lot?"

The long time coming?

"I should start this off by saying I think elderly couples are like the cutest thing ever. So I was especially distraught to see this couple -- they had to be at least mid-70s, if not older -- have a loud, obnoxious, public breakup at one of my tables over a very romantic candlelit dinner of duck l'orange. I've never heard an elderly woman curse that much outside of an Adam Sandler movie. They even left separately. I'm not sure if they really got divorced when they got back home, but they pretty much ruined my ideals of love forever. So yeah, thanks for that."

The text of death

"As a server for almost 15 years, I've seen my share of breakups. Most of them were pretty mundane and kind of sad, but one sticks out in my mind as particularly memorable. This couple was fighting from the moment they walked in, but they were clearly embarrassed by it. After they sat down, they both took out their phones and started texting furiously. It was obvious by their facial expressions, their texting cadence, and the crushing silence surrounding them that they were texting each other.

"I guess they decided it was less intrusive to other diners if they had their epic, public fight via text -- while sitting across from each other. Eventually the woman left in tears, phone in hand, and the dude ate the rest of his burger alone."

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Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Thrillist. He actually blames Gwyneth Paltrow for most of the world's problems. Follow him @wilfulton.