Waiter Thwarts Dine And Dashers By Leaping Onto Their Speeding Car

A brave waiter threw himself onto a customer’s SUV as it sped away from the restaurant. They had tried to run out without paying their $51 bill. The 24-year old jumped on as the car pulled out of the parking lot, grabbing onto the roofrack and planting his feet on the running board. Listen, you just don’t mess with a waiter’s tips.

With the recession, dine and dashing is on the rise, as people are hungry and want to have a nice meal but don’t feel like paying for it. Which is basically what the big banks did, leaving taxpayers to pick up their restaurant bill. But I digress.

The car raced through a red light and the passengers inside tried to punch Peter, the waiter, but then the driver pulled off the street. Peter jumped off as the passengers started to get out, but then they got back in and drove away. He called 911 and the SUV was pulled over by cops not long later. They charged the 18-year old driver with battery, theft, and reckless driving. The other passengers, also in their late teens, were charged with battery and theft.

“I just think if you see something wrong you should step in,” Peter told the Chicago Tribune. “Nowadays no one wants to step in.”

A better idea, however, would be to write down the car’s license plate and call 911.

Buffalo Wild Wings waiter thwarts dine and dash [Chicago Tribune]

Dine And Dashers On The Rise, Wearing Ties


Edit Your Comment

  1. mrvw says:

    just wait, he’ll be fired later today or tomorrow.

    • Anto103 says:

      Don’t worry the secret service will have a new spy soon.

    • Reading Rainbow says:

      Yep. Don’t be a hero

      • cayton says:

        Worst advice ever.

        • pop top says:

          No, really. In this instance the guy was an idiot. He risked his life for $51 that wasn’t even his.

          • scratchie says:

            Actually, it may have been $51 out of his pocket, depending on the restaurant’s policies. Still probably not worth risking your life over, but nothing to sneeze at if you’re working at a horrible restaurant to begin with.

            • Papa Bear says:

              The vast majority of those restaurant policies which require employees to make up shortages are illegal. Even if the employee agrees to the policy as a condition of employment, an employment policy or contract cannot contradict the law.

              • RvLeshrac says:

                I’m reasonably certain that most employees would rather be given the option of making up the shortage on their till, rather than outright termination.

      • Me - now with more humidity says:


    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      This happened in October. Has he been fired yet?

      • teke367 says:

        Some of my bosses were pretty cool, and wouldn’t have fired me for that when I was a server, of course, if it made the news, and reached the higher ups a few months later, my boss might now have the option of ignoring it any longer.

      • Southern says:

        Nice Catch, $teveDave. :)

    • joe23521 says:

      Fired? What, was he wearing a Packers tie?

      • Papa Bear says:

        As a Packers’ fan and a guy who as three or four Packers’ ties, I love him wearing it in Chicagoland! Problem is, he wasn’t fired for wearing the tie, he was fired for repeatedly disobeying his supervisor’s direct order to take the tie off. The supervisor didn’t even have to give him a reason, but would have been smart to do so. Don’t argue free speech, either: it’s not protected at a private employer. Dress codes – allowed to be enforced, but must be aware of the policy.

        I learned something from my dad a long time ago: “There is a right way, a wrong way and the bosses way. If nobody is going to get hurt and you aren’t breaking any laws, do it the bosses way and ask questions later.” In other words, he should have taken the tie off and then asked for an explanation. As it was, the dealership has an advertising agreement with the Bears and the tie could’ve been seen as a violation.

        • joe23521 says:

          His boss should have offered him a valid reason for asking him to take off his tie. Also, I heard that the boss was quoted saying that it would have been okay if the guy wore the tie on the Saturday before the game. So, hard to have it both ways.

          BTW, I’m also a Packer Backer myself. :)

        • pdj79 says:

          Sorry, but the boss went on record saying that if he had worn the tie on Saturday it would have been fine. He should have kept his mouth shut…cue the wrongful termination suits.

    • Chaosium says:

      Good, I hope he does. That stuff is just creepy, and I used to be a waiter.

    • Michaela says:

      This happened back in October. I heard it on NPR months ago. Since we haven’t heard anything about him getting fired, he probably kept his job.

      Consumerist, why are you covering old news?

  2. montusama says:

    “A better idea, however, would be to write down the car’s license plate and call 911.”

    Better idea, but not a fun story to tell your kids or tell a potential partner in life .

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      … and in most cases you will be told, “911 is for EMERGENCIES only”.

      And if the police DO show up to take a report, it will be 5 hours later.

      • Limewater says:

        THIS. It’s easy to say, “call the police” is a good idea, but then one day you actually need their services and learn otherwise.

        • Chaosium says:

          “THIS. It’s easy to say, “call the police” is a good idea, but then one day you actually need their services and learn otherwise.”

          The only thing worse than the police are people who act in lieu of them.

      • Red Cat Linux says:

        Guess it depends where you are? The couple of times I bothered to look up and call the non-emergency police number here, they just forwarded to 911 anyway.

    • I wumbo. You wumbo. He- she- me... wumbo. Wumbo; Wumboing; We'll have thee wumbo; Wumborama; Wumbology; the study of Wumbo. says:

      That doesn’t stop you from telling THIS story!

  3. pgh9fan1 says:

    As well he should be. He set Wild Wings up for a whiz-banger of a lawsuit over $51.

  4. Red Cat Linux says:

    This guy has seen too many action films. Brave, yes. But crazy. A $51 bill is not worth his life.

  5. Amaras says:

    Shouldn’t the waiter be charged with the reckless endangerment of lives, Joy riding, and generally being an idiot fee.

  6. TomKeddie says:

    Need to check their policies, he was probably liable for the whole bill from his tips.

    • Doubts42 says:

      not legally. They can fire you, but they can’t make you pay the tab.

      • Papa Bear says:

        And when they fire you, you have a wonderful, six-figure case for wrongful discharge and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Most restaurants and businesses who get away with that sort of crap are playing on ignorance and fear.

    • Vermont2US says:

      I strongly suspect that would be illegal in most jurisdictions, if not all.

    • Caswell says:

      Probably. When I was a server, the manager only cared about you covering your sales for the shift. If that means that the $51 someone stiffed the restaurant out of gets covered by your tips, so be it.

  7. Straspey says:

    And tomorrow we’ll see his post on the waiters’ blog about what a lousy tip they left on a $51.00 bill.

  8. Mold says:

    How dare a lowly waitron make sport of their social betters! Why, if Glorious Entitled Customer Gods wish to leave without a tip…it is their Royal Prerogative!
    If more folks made it clear that dine-and-dash is bushian behaviour, fewer would do it.

  9. tbax929 says:

    “With the recession, dine and dashing is on the rise, as people are hungry and want to have a nice meal but don’t feel like paying for it.”

    I don’t know if this is true, but if it is it’s a sad commentary on our society. While I don’t condone it, I can understand stealing food from a store because you’re hungry. Stealing a nice sit-down meal in a restaurant, however, is a very different thing.

    • cayton says:

      Incorrect. They are both stealing, and both wrong. I’d bet a nice meal that if you were starving and asked the manager of said supermarket if you could sweep the floors for some food, you’d get it.

  10. xxmichaelxx says:

    “A better idea, however, would be to write down the car’s license plate and call 911.”
    The cops would laugh and do absolutely nothing about this. So no, relying on 911 is not better.

    • pop top says:

      Cops totally laugh about crime all the time!

      • Me - now with more humidity says:

        Amen. My kid’s bike was stolen a few months ago, and the cops responded quickly to take a report. I cruised around and saw the bike and the thief, called them and they sent two cars out at full speed to get the bike and the guy. Total time, less than 3 hours. The cops are both dads and were more than pissed about some asshat stealing a kid’s bike. But they surely weren’t laughing.

  11. Bernardo says:

    I bet the guy only caught them because he was outside smoking a cig instead of picking up thier check. So when they left in frustrationg this jerk decideds to be a hero.

  12. greggorthechamp says:

    I wonder how his other tables felt about their waiter ditching them to go joyride on someone’s rooffack. Bet he lost out on some tips.

  13. Mold says:

    Umm…most staff smoke out back..by the dumpster. Which one can easily discover by becoming employed in the biz.

  14. teke367 says:

    Its not about the tip, which, lets face it, probably wouldn’t have topped $5 anyway (I’m assuming Dine-n-dashers aren’t great tippers), its about respect. This guy is totally getting laid by the 22 year old waitresses there who now think he’s a legend.

  15. sirwired says:

    As well he should have been. If he (the waiter) had gotten injured or killed, the restaurant would have been liable for a whopper of a workmen’s comp bill. It’s just not worth it to try and do the cops’ job for them. Trust me, no employer wants to catch criminals THAT badly, and they don’t appreciate it when employees try.

    Chase a purse-snatcher, I can understand an employee being inspired to do, but chasing after a dine-n-dasher? Why would you ever do such a thing? It’s part of a Cost of Doing Business.

    • romoish says:

      How would it be workman’s comp? 1) What he was doing violated company policy, 2) What he was doing was outside the scope of his job duty, and 3) What he was doing was off of company property.

      I’d fire him for walking off of his shift without supervisor approval.

      • Mark says:

        I’ve worked for d**ks like you.

      • Papa Bear says:

        All irrelevant points in most jurisdictions. As long as you are on the clock, the injury is covered even if it is through no fault of the employer or you are violating company policy.

        • Chaosium says:

          “All irrelevant points in most jurisdictions. As long as you are on the clock, the injury is covered even if it is through no fault of the employer or you are violating company policy.”

          BZZZZT, injuring someone else and their property is not covered.

  16. redskull says:

    And that waiter’s name? Joe Mannix!

  17. A.Mercer says:

    A few years ago in Arlington, Texas at a Bennigan’s, a group of people tried to stiff the waitress. She ran outside to stop them and they ran her over while trying to get away. I never heard how the case went but the parents sued the company. Basically, they made the argument that since the management punished the servers if someone leaves without paying by making the server pay the bill, that the company encouraged servers to take drastic measures to stop the people from leaving.


  18. comedian says:
  19. Chooi says:

    Not a good idea – a lady was killed and another paralyzed a local place here in Cbus after jumping in front of a car when the guy tried to dine and dash.

    • brinks says:

      I’m from Columbus, too, and that was the first thing that popped into my head when I read this.

      Not worth it.

  20. sonohuey says:

    This reminds me of one of the people who took off without paying at a self-serve gas station that I worked at in high school.

    About once every few months, people would come in, park at the gas pump farthest from the little 8′ x 20′ booth that I worked in, would fill up there tanks, and then would take off without paying.

    Well, one poor idiot tried to do this and took off going really fast. Turns out that they didn’t know the local roads too well. I was able to get the license plate from the security camera – yes, those cameras do work – and called the local cops.

    They found the person within 1 miles of the gas station. The car had rolled at least ten times because the driver was driving way to fast on roads they did not know.

    Here’s the fun part – they destroyed their car and got arrested (DWI and petty larceny) for $5 in gas. This is back in the day when gas was $0.95 a gallon.

  21. apbailey says:

    My hero!

  22. np206100 says:

    That happened in Ohio and the staff got hit, not a good idea


  23. Hi_Hello says:

    battery?? come on. I would say attempted murder. They ran a read light driving over 10 mph (I guess). If there was an accident, there’s a chance the guy would’ve died.

    if they manage to fling him off the car, there is a chance that he could did. basically any action other than stopping might cause some sort of death.

    I say charge them and let the court decide.

  24. theotherwhitemeet says:

    It should read.
    A dumb waiter threw himself onto a customer’s SUV as it sped away from the restaurant.

    And after all that he still didn’t get his $51.

  25. Papa Bear says:


  26. Kibit says:

    This was such a bad idea. He could have been injured or even killed over a $51 bill. Your health and safety are far more important and this waiter put those at risk.

  27. stevied says:

    A bullet. Just one bullet.

    Hells Bells, it don’t even have to come close. In fact it could be a blank. That is all that is needed to discourage the idiots.

  28. Stickdude says:

    “Where’s my two dollars?”


    (nobody’s posted that reference yet? I can’t be *that* old, can I?)

  29. Hello Jodi says:

    That is stinking nuts. A waitress in Columbus was paralyzed chasing after a dine & dasher:


  30. Dollie says:

    Last July I was cutting through a restaurant parking lot right as several people ran out, jumped in their truck, and took off fast. Couldn’t miss them because I had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting them. Waitress came running out, I asked if they had bolted on a check and she said yes. I took off after them and caught up with them quickly (thank you Hemi gods, the restaurant was right on the freeway), got the license number and got back to the restaurant right as the cops arrived. The waitress was only able to get the first two letters on the plate, so there goes that theory.

    Sure got the adrenaline going.

  31. stegosaurus1 says:

    Sometimes, you just can’t take it anymore.

    Not too hard to understand.

  32. Papa Bear says:

    As to the arguments about restaurants and other businesses deducting shortages and damages from an employees check – illegal in almost any circumstances. That said, if this was why this kid did this, he should be checking the laws and suing because he placed his life in jeopardy he was in fear for his job. I’m sure a good attorney state a cause of action, I could and I’m not an attorney. Also, if anything was ever deducted in the past, he can more than likely get treble damages by filing a claim with the state.

    As to the idea that he is some sort of hero: he is stupid! If he has stopped the people, he could’ve opened the restaurant up to a false imprisonment and damage to property suits. False imprisonment because in most jurisdictions it is unlawful for the shop-owner to physically restrain a thief. If they stopped and he didn’t get his ass kicked, what else would he have done? Damage to property: he probably scratched the car.

    I personally would’ve fired the guy immediately. He opened the business up to several lawsuits, not the least of which is his own workman’s comp claim. He showed very bad judgment which if left unchecked could lead to behavior far worse and result in someone getting hurt or killed. Sorry, but a business person has a responsibility to protect his business from this sort of action.

  33. graytotoro says:

    I guess this is a case of robbing Peter to feed Paul.

  34. cinloua says:

    I would never think about dining then dashing. Just too honest.

  35. Jerkamie says:

    I remember when some moron is BC tried to do the same thing at a gas station and he was draged for something like 4 kms until he was right down to his bone.

    Now everyone has to prepay for their gas in BC.

  36. wesa says:

    Did anyone else see that this article is from OCTOBER 2010? Ben Popken, your posts mostly consist of old news and articles. When I’m going through my news feed, I can almost always pinpoint your posts specifically based on the aged content. I’m pretty sure this same story already ran on Consumerist for that matter.

  37. Some Guy says:


  38. pot_roast says:

    “A better idea, however, would be to write down the car’s license plate and call 911.”

    True, except brazen thieves like that might be using a stolen license plate. That’s becoming more common.

  39. Eli the Ice Man says:

    Employee of the month nominee!