Hot Dog

Where waiters and diners tell tales

Once when I was a young and callow fellow, an elderly lady with exquisitely coiffed white hair sat at one of my tables at lunchtime. The restaurant was small but very crowded. She ordered, I remember, a deviled-egg sandwich on white bread and coffee. Just as I was turning to go, she asked for a hot dog, no bun. It was when I brought her meal that I spied the little dog under her jacket. She began to feed the poodle the hot dog. Of course, dogs are illegal in restaurants, and I informed her so. She ignored me as if I hadn’t spoken. I knew that in Europe, dogs sat at their masters’ feet throughout multicourse repasts, but this was the US of A and I could be fired. “Pardon me, ma’am,” I said more loudly and read her the riot act, but not a hair on her head turned. When I finished, the room had gone silent and every single diner was glaring at me. She finished her meal, left me a bill, and walked out. Hers was the only tip I received that lunch hour.

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