One Unforgettable Birthday

Yesterday was Terry’s second 39th birthday. It has been a hectic few months and the little boy is still a little young to be in large crowds. But I felt like Terry should at least get a pseudo party on his milestone birthday. So I conspired to have a few of his oldest and closest friends surprise him at one of his favorite places to run and grab a steak.

So eight adults, two children, and two infants converged on the Outback Steakhouse in Hermitage Tennessee around 6:30 p.m. to celebrate a birthday. And that is where things started to fall apart.

Half the table had drinks and one appetizer when me, Terry and the munchkins arrived. The rest of us waited until around 7 to have our drink and appetizer order taken. The appetizers and drinks finally arrived, with the exception of one alcoholic beverage that had to be purchased from the bar despite putting the order in with the waiter. At about 7:15 when our dinner order had not been taken, I went and had the hostess send the waiter to the table to execute that task.

I know. We should have left then. But this group hadn’t seen each other en masse in a while and we just wanted to enjoy each other’s company.

Order taken, the group continued to talk and finish off the appetizers. Finally the salads arrived. But at 8:00 still no food. So one party in the group who had a young child who had not eaten and was approaching bed time asked for their food to go. Then at 8:15, when the food still had not arrived they canceled their order. I believe they ate at McDonalds on the way home. (Lovely huh?)

Shortly thereafter the manager appeared. He walked around the table handing out $25 gift cards and mumbling he didn’t want us to leave unhappy. He never made eye contact or apologized (at least not loud enough for me to hear it). Seriously, I couldn’t tell you what he looked like. I only saw the top of his head. He must have been wearing some incredible shoes.

The party that had canceled their order left. The rest of us stayed thinking surely our orders would arrive shortly. Nope. They had canceled everyone’s order.

Well now we have one hungry kid, two marginal infants, and six hungry adults who have gone passed pissed off straight to making fun of the situation… loudly. Some of the folks at tables around us looked uncomfortable.

I informed the waiter of the mistake (well, this particular one of the many) and asked if we could get the food to go since “it was already in the window”. Our server said sure.

THIRTY minutes later after two adults and the second hungry kid left, we received the food. Apparently they had indeed thrown it out and had to recook it. Instead of explaining that, they saw fit to let us wait a little longer. I mean what the hell right? We had already been there for 2.5 hours. Aside: I never got a refill on my drink the entire time we were there.

During this wait, Terry had taken to holding the oldest of our children in the air like Simba from the Lion King claiming “this child is weaponized” and instructing her to “Scream child. Scream.” She didn’t. She and every other person under 10 at the table behaved impeccably. It was nothing short of a miracle. I don’t think the adults did badly either considering the complete Cluster the evening turned out to be.

After Chaz the waiter brought the to go orders (all wrong btw) and had to be sent back for two missing orders he gave us his personal cards.(Doesn’t the name Chaz make you think about the Brenden Frazier character from Airheads?) He is a country music singer songwriter (working as a waiter…I’m shocked) and we were to ask for him next time we came. He would personally take care of us. Because that turned out so good for us this time.

It was the icing on the cake. We had to laugh. We did. Appropriate for a birthday I guess.

I have never experienced anything like it in my life. And Terry didn’t even get a dessert for his second 39th birthday. Thanks Outback.

So if you want to make a loved one’s birthday unforgettable, take them to the Outback Steakhouse in Hermitage Tennessee. I know no one that attended our birthday outing will ever forget the experience. We will be talking about it when we are in the nursing home gumming our strained peas.

Oh, yeah. Happy Birthday T. Next year I will get a bouncy house.

The kids, fourteen months and three weeks respectively, may have been angels in the restaurant for almost three hours but this is what happened the minute we pulled out of the parking lot. Enjoy.

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