Imagination ran amok this week among parties who normally contribute to restaurants’ security and success, turning an intended josh into a perceived threat and a perceived threat into a bad and costly joke. Because of runaway presumptions, one customer was arrested for having a messy car.
Read on to see what we mean.
Guests as urinals
Misreads kept the police busy this week. In Murfreesboro, Tenn., for instance, authorities were called to a teppanyaki restaurant because a woman thought she spied a penis and felt she was being sexually attacked at the table.
The cops discovered that the woman was incensed by part of the chef’s shtick. Teppanyaki chefs usually try to bedazzle the customers sitting around their grill-topped table with flashy knife work and tricks like flipping food in the air. The alleged molester at Wasabi, the restaurant, had incorporated a prop into his performance, an apparently male doll who pees when his pants are slid down. He demonstrated the unique feature to his patrons, and the stream of water hit Isabelle Lassiter, who was not amused.
She and her husband, James, said the doll had a penis and characterized the incident as a sexual assault. They also pointed out to the police that couple’s children were at the table. But the police said they found no penis, nor a reason to interpret the practical joke as a sexual assault, and left without making an arrest.
‘Would we lie to you?’
Another practical joke went awry this week in California, though it unfolded exactly as the serial culprits had hoped. They called up three restaurants in the northern town of Elk Grove and identified themselves as safety authorities who needed the staffs to test their fire suppression systems.
Two of the staffs complied, activating the systems and forcing their restaurants, a Wendy’s and a Five Guys, to shut for the rest of the night.
The third place, a Panera Bread branch, declined the request, sensing something was awry.
There’s no word on how quickly employee handbooks were appended to cover bogus safety requests.
A different craveable product
A 64-year-old man in Orlando, Fla., learned the benefits of keeping his car clean when he was pulled over for a minor traffic violation and ended up in jail after a strip search. On the floor of his vehicle were several flakes of sugar that had fallen off his weekly Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut. Four flakes, to be exact.
The police thought the slivers of sugar were crumbs of crystal meth. According to their arrest report, the officers tested the sugar twice to see if it was the illicit drug. In all instances, they said, the tests confirmed their suspicions.
The cops had been staking out the convenience store where Daniel Rushing had bought the doughnut, hoping to catch drug users who had been reported in the area. They pulled over Rushing for not coming to a complete stop when he pulled out of the lot.
Rushing was taken to jail, where he was processed and strip-searched before a follow-up lab test revealed the suspected meth ice was really pastry icing. He was released to tell his story, which he promptly did—to the local media.
Imagining an opportunity
Where most onlookers saw a tragedy, one unidentified neighbor of Portalli’s in Ellicott City., Md., spied a chance to restock her home bar.
It was bad enough the landmark restaurant had been severely damaged by a flash flood that tore through the historic town, a prime destination for antique hunters. When proprietor Evan Brown came the next day to see what was left of his establishment, he reportedly encountered a woman walking out with as many bottles of liquor as she could carry.
Brown yanked a few bottles from the woman, who dropped the rest, according to news reports. He then learned that pieces of the restaurant’s decor had also been taken, despite all the mud covering the floor and the disarray inside.
Employees had been inside the restaurant when the floodwaters hit on Saturday night. They had the presence of mind to take and secure the night's receipts after escorting fellow staff members and guests to safety.
Authorities say they’re pursuing the thieves.