Suburban family dines out, server ends up in hysterics

Palo Alto, CA— After their 8-year-old son, Carter, was nominated Student of the Week at Tree Branch Wisdom elementary school, Jon and Linda Schaeffer decided to treat him and their 5-year-old daughter, Daisy, to a dinner out. “We thought he’d choose something festive, like Cafe Gratitude or Le Pâturage Blanc, but he insisted on Olive Garden. I don’t know what they teach him at that school… it’s practically barbaric,” said Mrs. Schaeffer, 38, a Contemplative Arts instructor at the Mountain View Shambala Meditation Center. Mr. Schaeffer is a 41 year old venture capitalist for the tech industry; both he and his wife are certified organic doulas.

The Schaeffer’s Friday dinner began pleasantly enough, with Carter, who was last year’s Silicon Valley Scrabble Tournament runner-up, insisting on ordering from the “grown-up menu.” Their server, Stanford University sophomore Vijaya Reddy, gave young Carter both a standard menu and a kid’s menu “in case he changed his mind.” Reddy, who identifies as a second generation Indian-American, introduced herself as “Vi” to the Schaeffers, to which Mr. Schaeffer apparently responded “what’s your real name? You know, in your native language?” Having encountered this question before, Reddy claimed she “said her full first-name through gritted teeth” and handed him the drink menu. “He proceeded to call me ‘Sanjaya’ all evening,” recalled Reddy, “You know. Like from American idol.”

Reddy, a seasoned debater and neurobiology major from Massachusetts, promptly brought the family breadsticks and ice water before taking their drink orders. Upon closely examining her plastic water glass, Mrs. Schaeffer asked Reddy for sparkling water and requested a copy of the manual for the restaurant’s filtration system. “Daisy here can practically taste reverse osmosis,” she said, securing her daughter’s Crocs. “I hate to ask you to run back in there, but at least you’d get some exercise.”

“I don’t think we even filter our water, but I didn’t want to bother the manager so I just told her we lost the manual,” said the student worker, to which Mrs. Schaeffer reacted by pelting her with breadsticks. Reddy, having been employed in food service for the past six-years, was unsurprised and continued to wait on the family.

Mr. Schaeffer later told Reddy that their entire family was severely allergic to gluten and that he would need a Miller Lite. “When I told him we only had gluten-free rotini, he slammed the menu down and started making a conference call on his Google Glass. At this point, the kids were getting antsy — they’d finished coloring Ollie the Olive, so I took their orders first,” she said.

Daisy, who enjoys hypnosis and modeling for the anti-vaccine campaign, had chewed up all of her crayons and began decapitating Barbie heads by this time. According to the busboy, who prefers to remain anonymous, the Schaeffers’ youngest child “carved ‘steak, medium-rare’ into the table with a dagger,” while their pacifistic son Carter “marched around the restaurant initiating a hunger-strike against climate change.” Reddy was forced to go to the local Whole Foods on numerous accounts in order to purchase the Schaeffers’ requested items, including grass-fed beef, jute takeout containers, and artisanal salts. Her manager, Terry Chapin, apparently threatened to dock her pay unless she complied to their stipulations, reminding her that “when you’re here, you’re family.”

The rest of the evening went smoothly until Reddy brought them their check, at which point Mrs. Schaeffer pulled out an expired coupon and demanded it be honoured. The diners had stacked all of their plates, napkins, silverware, and decapitated doll heads in one pile at the center of the table for their server’s convenience. When Reddy collected the check and saw her tip — a brochure for SoulCycle and a withered kale leaf — she became convinced it was all a joke.

“The waitress-lady started screaming and laughing a lot, and she said ‘Suzanne Somers? Suzanne Somers?’ over and over again like mom does when she’s being Buddhist,” said Carter, “And then she stared at the ceiling for a long time searching for a video camera.” Other patrons claimed Reddy was hysterical, allegedly detonating all of the paging-buzzers and shoving fistfuls of Andes mints into her mouth.

“I thought I was on Candid Camera. Or being Punk’d or something. But no. It was just time to quit,” said Reddy, “Oh, and one more thing. I’m not Sanjaya! He wasn’t even a good singer.” Vijaya Reddy is now in custody for disturbing the peace, Palo Alto Police confirmed to The Phoenix.

Jon Schaeffer expressed shock at their server’s hysterics, claiming “Sanjaya [sic] made it clear that if we needed anything, we should ask her. I don’t understand how Olive Garden can allow such unstable people to represent their establishment. I will certainly be writing a letter to corporate.” Linda Schaeffer echoed her husband’s astonishment, adding “that monster blatantly lied to us. This is something my children will carry with them for the rest of their lives.” Manager Terry Chapin presented the Schaeffers with a $50 gift card to the Olive Garden in recompense for their unsatisfactory dining experience.

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