I’m not 100% sure this even belongs here and I’ve posted this story elsewhere so some of you might have read it already.
Some background: I work in a rather specialized area of Forensics. Officially I’m employed by Police Scotland but they tend to let other law enforcement agencies, universities, etc borrow us from time to time. A lot of the time it’s for consulting work or guest lecturing but sometimes we’re sent to teach training courses.
About 18 months ago I was asked to lecture at a training course for some of the CID higher-ups in an English Police force. It was the first time I’d done anything like it and I was crapping myself.
I met with the conveners and other officials for dinner the night before my first day, and after dinner and drinks, I was dropped back at my hotel.
So to set the scene; it’s about 10pm, I’m all dressed up in my evening wear and I’m sitting at the bar in the hotel lounge. The place is dead, it’s just me and the barman so I’ve taken off my heels and am unraveling my hair having just ordered a hot chocolate. The barman asks if I want mini marshmallows on my hot chocolate. Yes, of course I want mini marshmallows on my hot chocolate. No I don’t mind waiting while you run to the kitchen.
So I’m sit there trying to trick my phone into connecting to the hotels WiFi when Angry Man walks in.
He stomped into the room and slammed his fist down on the bar about 3 ft from me and barked out one word:
I didn’t know it but apparently that attempt at communication was aimed at me; a fact I learned a moment later when Angry Man moved right up next to me, bent over me so his face was practically in mine and barked out again;
In an attempt to get away from the screaming coffee man I slipped off the bar stool, putting it between the two of us. Extremely confused and more than a little terrified, it didn’t immediately occur to me that he thought I worked there, hell it wasn’t even registering that he wanted a coffee. He was just repeating it the same way a toddler does when they learn a new word but don’t entirely know what it means.
I’m going to blame the confusion, fear and tiredness for my completely moronic response, which was to parrot the word back at him.
Angry Man: “COFFEE”
Then he slammed his fist down on the bar again. This time I noticed that he was actually throwing down money.
My brain suddenly came back online.
Me: “Oh. Eh, the barman should be back in a sec. H-”
Angry Man: “Get me a coffee. Now.”
Ooooh four new words. Progress.
Me: “I’m sorry, mate, I don’t work here.”
Angry man (shouting now) “You fucking lazy liar!! Do you think I’m fucking stupid?”
Yes, actually, but I’ll be keeping that to myself.
Angry Man: “Get off your fucking phone and get me a shitting coffee”
Me: “I really don’t-”
Cue rant about me being the only person in the lounge so of course I must work there and I was just being lazy and did I take him for an idiot. All while I’m slowly backing away from the bar so he can’t pin me between it and the bar stools. Then he throws in this:
Angry Man: “Do you have any idea who I am? Do you have any idea how important I am?”
I never got to find out how important this guy thought he was. Instead Angry Man’s Friend came wandering in.
He took one look at me; pretty much cornered by Angry Man who is now screaming about how he’ll make sure I never work again while I’m trying to calmly tell him to back off and he tries to intervene.
He took Angry Man by the shoulders and moved him back away from me while asking him what was going on.
Angry Man: “This stupid little whore is refusing to serve me”
Me: “I really don’t work here”
Angry Man’s Friend: “She doesn’t work here. Let’s just all try to calm down”
There was a few moments of Angry Man’s Friend trying to calm Angry Man while he ranted about getting me fired until two barman arrived, one of them with my hot chocolate. The presence of the three men distracted Angry Man enough for me to grab my shoes and escape with my chocolatey goodness.
As I left I could hear him demanding to speak to a manager.
The next day, after being introduced to a lecture theater full of high ranking CID Officers, I stood and walked to the podium only to be greeted by one guy in the audience laughing hysterically.
I just sort of froze trying to figure out the joke. Did I have food on my face? Was my shirt on inside out?
A quick check confirmed that, no. I’d managed to adult that morning.
A few other people began to chuckle as this guy struggled to get a hold of himself. As he regained control he pointed to his left.
Where a very red looking Angry Man was sitting.
I think it was the sheer relief that he wasn’t actually laughing at me that caused me to open my mouth and say to Angry Man;
“Oh did you get your coffee in the end?”
He walked out and I didn’t see him for the rest of the course.