Disturbia, fiction, family, friends, and everything else between the lions.
Published on November 7, 2005 By Tova7 In Misc

When I was sixteen I worked at Ponderosa. For those of you unfamiliar with “the Rosa” let me elaborate on the experience of working there in the mid 80’s.

Ponderosa was a steak house with an old west theme. You walk in, get a tray, place your steak order, and move your tray on down the line, cafeteria style, toward the cashier. On the way you see the chef cooking up his steaks on the grill and other employees preparing your food.

Beside the chef you see the baked potato racks. Two large stainless steel industrial grade ovens filled with aluminum foil covered baked potatoes. One person worked the baked potato racks full time. He (or she) constantly filled the empty spaces with new spuds, and dropped hot ones on metal shaped plates after the chef put a steak on them.

Then the metal shaped plate went to the “runner.” The runner took the meat and potato and added any side items, like mushrooms, onions, butter, and sour cream. The runner placed the metal plate on a larger wooden one (old west type feel here) and literally speed walked the still sizzling steak to the customer, who had by this time made his/her way past all this business to the cashier, paid and found a table. And most were eating away on their buffet salads.

I was a runner. I wore the 100% polyester brown bib overall dress with two deep pockets in the front and a flaring skirt. Whenever I’d come home from work and go straight to the back porch where my uncle took up his nightly vigil on the swing, raccoons would smell the food on me and flock to our yard. I almost always had bits and pieces of food that fell in my pockets during my shift to throw them.

It wasn’t rocket science but I liked my job. The restaurant was within driving distance of several Triple A school districts all ferocious about their football teams. And there were kids from most of them working The Rosa. So you can imagine the “smack” talk that was passed around in fun.

I was a peppy upbeat kinda person. I was also my school mascot. Now before you laugh I will tell you it was very hard to get. There were auditions and practices with the cheerleaders. There was no way I could cheerlead because of my work schedule, not to mention the same girls did it for 6 years straight. And I was the new girl.

So I auditioned, and finally became the blue bird!!

One Friday night we were playing a rival school for the chance at the state championship. It was either us or them, so the stadium was packed. I was dancing and jumping my heart out. We won!

Saturday night celebration party! The next day, Sunday, still high on the win, I wore my school paraphernalia to work. Blue ribbon pony tail, badges and letters and under my bib overall dress, my school t-shirt. I had spirit, yes I did I had spirit, how bout you?

Sorry flashback.

So the Sunday crowd is lined up around the building waiting for us to open. I bee bop in to congratulations from all my co-workers. (Like I personally led the football team to victory with my blue bird costume!)

It didn’t take long before the ribbing started. School rivalry and all that.

We let the crowd in, but the line never seemed to shrink. It was disconcerting to be working and have a whole line of people (waiting on the cashier) face you and watch you work. Sometimes they’d chat me up, but we (employees) were usually talking to each other.

But I was hap-hap-happy. We were one step closer to state…which meant I got to ride with the CUTE football players all the way down to Louisville because my bird head was too big most vehicles the cheerleaders were taking. The football team took a bus. Oh yeah!

I noticed pretty quickly that our potato guy was being really slow. He was causing the sizzling steaks to lose their sizzle. Smart mouth that I was I “encouraged” him to hurry up in a myriad of ways not the least of which was dogging his football team, of which he was a tight end, and just incidentally who we had beat out Friday night for state. Whew.

Now I was all of 5’3” and 120 pounds, maybe. I wasn’t tiny, but athletic. He was over 6 foot and from recent bragging I knew he was getting a full ride football scholarship to college. He was beefy in only the way 17 year old guys who lift weights and want to be as big as possible can be.

I called out for a tator and added a “hurry up shesh!” to it, then looked bashfully at the customer standing two feet in front of me while I worked.

When I turned to face tator boy to see what was taking so long, he grabbed me by the neck. His hand covered my entire neck. At first I thought it was a joke, so I kinda laughed and rolled my eyes. But then he started squeezing.

He put his other hand on top of the one around my neck and lifted me off the ground. He increased the pressure and when I looked in his face I saw he was serious.

The customers two feet away, and the people I worked with beside me, all stopped, and WATCHED.

The pressure increased around my neck.  I couldn’t breathe. I kicked him dead on right between the legs as hard as I could. Now remember I was a tumbler and a runner…had strong legs. He laughed!! Not a ha-ha laugh but a evil “I’m gonna kill you laugh.”

And the people around us, WATCHED.

I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t have the length in my arms to reach his eyes or any other part of him either. The light began to fade.  Black edges closed in the periphery of my vision.  I went limp.  The darkness was almost complete when he dropped me to the floor. He just let go. I fell hard on the terra cotta grease covered tiles. It forced air right back into my lungs. My vision came back crystal clear.

And everyone around us, WATCHED.

So I stumbled up. He was surprised to see me get up, I saw it in his face. Then that dead look came back into his eyes and he started for me again. This time I RAN. The only place to go was back in the kitchen where the dishwasher spent his time pushing racks of dirty dishes through a huge silver washing machine.

I knew potato boy was hot on my ass so as I passed the clean dishes I grabbed a big knife. (Look, at this point I knew I was on my own, and I couldn’t fight him.)  So I turn around and when he sees the knife he hesitates. Just long enough for the manager to come running in the kitchen screaming about the customers still being able to see us.

I found my voice. I screamed he tried to kill me. Call the police!

Instead, the manager took a dive for the knife. Once potato boy saw the manager grab me, he joined in the fray punching me when he could. I had that knife though and those idiots couldn’t get it from me. But for the sake of not killing one of them, or them killing me, I threw it across the room.

The manager grabbed me by the ribbons and potato boy by his shirt and threw us out the back fire door and then shut it. I had no way to get back inside,  It was a fire door, only handle was on the inside, and now I was alone in an alcove with potato boy. This was all in view of the patrons and other workers of the restaurant.

Know what they did?


So I was outside in this alcove. Metal fire door with no handle behind me, one wall on each side of me, one way out straight ahead. Except Potato boy had taken up residence there and used his height to keep me from escaping while gleefully punching my breasts and stomach. I was screaming bloody murder and people were standing in line waiting to get in to eat and ……WATCHING.

I kicked, snarled, screamed when he landed beefy blows on my flesh, in what seemed to last forever.

FINALLY, a man, a dwarf, shoved potato guy from the rear and distracted him so I could run inside to the office. I locked myself in the office and called my cousin. (I lived with my aunt, uncle and cousin.)

Within five minutes three vehicles were jack knifed in the parking lot so no one could enter or leave and still running. My cousin had his own landscaping business, he came first just getting off work and was filthy. My uncle showed up minutes later with a baseball bat. Last my ultra ladylike aunt showed up screaming wanting to know why I didn’t kick him in the balls!!

All this in front of the entire restaurant while they watched.

My cousin found potato boy hiding in the walk in freezer. My aunt was all over the manager so he was trying to escape her wrath by hiding in the office. Business was at a stand still.

I stood behind my cousin in the walk in fridge saying, “Why don’t you hit him like you hit me you fat piece of shit! What you got nothing to say now you loser?” I was so angry.

And they watched.

At the end of all this, no cops came can you believe that?

I quit on the spot.

As I was leaving, bruised and bloodied, ribbons limp and hair a mess, I looked at the restaurant patrons in general and said, “Thanks for nothing you pitiful pieces of shit!”

Later a friend told me he was mental and had to be committed his first year of college. Whatever!

Supposedly they still tell this story at that restaurant. Hehe.

The lesson I learned from this? There isn’t always safety in numbers.

Sometimes they just WATCH.

Comments (Page 1)
2 Pages1 2 
on Nov 07, 2005
Whew!..You should have worked with us. We would have had your back, kicked his ass and bitch slapped a bystander just for fun.

I can't believe this. Well, sadly yes, I can.
I guess it reminds me of the people who happen to have a video camera and tape something awful happening instead of putting the camera down and helping out.

Where were the lawyers then? You worked at Hell's Kitchen, not me.
on Nov 07, 2005
We would have had your back, kicked his ass and bitch slapped a bystander just for fun.

Buwhahahaha. Now that would have been something to WATCH.
on Nov 07, 2005
nothing pisses me off more than a male {I refuse to call his young man!} manhandle a woman. grrrrrrrrrrr....
on Nov 07, 2005
nothing pisses me off more than a male {I refuse to call his young man!} manhandle a woman. grrrrrrrrrrr

Yeah well I can honestly say, people are sheep in situations like that. They just watched in shock...but dang it went on over a 15 minute time period, you'd think someone woulda snapped out of it enough to at least call the cops! SHESH!

Thank goodness for the little guy syndrome...you know how really short guys always seem to have souped up cars and always lookin for a fight? Well my savior was a midgit and he didn't back down!!
on Nov 07, 2005
I'm off to chase the sand man.........
on Nov 07, 2005
That sucks what happened and I think you are right. Id like to be all buff and say that I would have been the first to jump to defend someone....but I think most people just stand and watch in shock, not believing it is happening. Its not that we want to watch and see others get hurt...its just that is so violent and rare, especially to see it in person....we just freeze and watch.

I worked at a grocery store and this customer came up to the register behind me. He looked fine and all. But then...all of a sudden I hear him screaming, the moaning...then he just slowly falls to the floor and starts shaking violently. Im right there five feet away and Im like "what the hell is going on?" I was trained on what to do in situations like that and all...but I just froze and didnt do anything outside of watching him squirm and fall into a seizure. I dont even remember what happened after that, I think I just shut down sort of and kept ringing the customers through.

Also...I think its unfortunate....but many times when we see people fighting, yelling...etc, we dont take sides and just stay out of it. Its not right, never is...its just the way it happens to be.
on Nov 08, 2005
I worked at a grocery store and this customer came up to the register behind me. He looked fine and all. But then...all of a sudden I hear him screaming, the moaning...then he just slowly falls to the floor and starts shaking violently. Im right there five feet

Whoa. That is CRAZY! I can't imagine standing around and watching something like that.

I've thought about it and I believe that most people are just like you say, shocked so they watch. But there are some, like me, who have had one crisis in my life after another (not so much anymore thank you God.) and we tend to react to big things like this.

Let me give you an example. When I lived in Texas we went to a carnival of sorts. It was at the fairgrounds and inside one of the buildings was an old time car show. I was looking at a car and an old man probably about 70 was beside me. It was his car. SO this loud mouth guy and his woman come up and are touching the car and being obnoxious.

Before I know it, this younger man start beating the crap out of the 70 year old man. I mean it was a vicious attack. He was big guy too. I immeditaly started screaming, "STop it! Stop it!" You know what everyone else did? They watched.

There was even an off duty police officer standing there!

I started yelling at the men standing in a circle watching this old man get beat. I was screaming, "Help him! Help him!"

My husband heard my screams and came running. By this time I figured I better just jump in because no one was going to help. My husband grabbed me and said, "What the hell are you doing?"

I said, "Help him!! Help him!!"

Then I turned around and ran to where I knew there was a cop in uniform (but I have to admit it was very hard to leave). I dragged her back, and of course the fight was over. But she cuffed that dirt bag right in front of his woman and took him to jail!

The old man was beaten pretty bad but he refused an ambulance. It was so sad watching him go around and pick his glasses up off the dirt floor holding his side. I kept thinking, tonight he has to tell his wife what happened and how unmanly he felt for not being able to whip a bully. I boo-hooed and we had to leave. The day was ruined for me.

The D.A. contacted me about a week later and said there is a law about hitting a senior citizen, and that guy committed about 3 felonies. He wanted to prosecute and wondered if I'd testify, he is the one who told me the other witness was an off duty female cop. Pffft. It never went to trial though, the guy musta just plead guilty.

It still makes me mad to think about it.
on Nov 08, 2005
My husband says if I am going to a social function, and there is gonna be a big fight or violence, it will happen right next to me. And he's right....I always seem to be right there when violence begins.

on Nov 08, 2005
Tova that is an amazing story and you have a great way of telling it as well.

Man that guy really needed a whoopin!


LW asked me to tell you that she is readin ure blog and enjoyin it as well!
on Nov 08, 2005
LW asked me to tell you that she is readin ure blog and enjoyin it as well!

Thank you for telling me that!!

Tell her I said hello and I MISS HER!

Yup he needed a whoopin! Pfft....too bad I was too weak to do it!
on Nov 08, 2005
There was a newsmagazine type show about this not too long ago. 20/20 or 60 minutes type thing. They had a couple of social experiments with a police officer nearby in case the intervening by stander took it too far. For one they had a man and a woman arguing. Some shoving, no hitting but very in her face. It was interesting to see how many people just walked on by, some would kind of stand there and watch and you knew they were trying to decide if they should say something or not. Some would call the cops on their cell phones. It wasn't always the big strong man that intervened but sometimes tiny little women had the cojones to tell him to back off.

I've never really been in that kind of situation but I would like to think I would stick up for someone who was being beaten or otherwise mistreated. There was a neighbor who was in a big fight with her boyfriend and he was beating on her door and yelling at her and we called the police but that was it.
on Nov 08, 2005
I remember several years back a story that happened in New York. A woman was driving her car, badly, and clipped or cut off another driver. They ended up stopping in the middle of the bridge and the guy gets out and drags the woman out of her car.

He strips her down to her bra and panties and everyone WATCHES.

She cries, fights and does her best to fight, but he is really hurting her.

She jumped off the bridge to get away from him and DIED with everyone WATCHING.

I always tell myself when I see this kind of stuff....ACT ACT ACT. Then I do something, anything, and once I do one thing, my thinking clears and I'm able to do more.
on Nov 08, 2005

DIED with everyone WATCHING.

Not the same one, but the reason that NY got its reputation.  Kitty Genovese.

Sorry it happened to you.  They do not watch in all places.  Especially not the south.

on Nov 08, 2005
Sorry it happened to you. They do not watch in all places. Especially not the south.

What do you consider the south? My Ponderosa experience happened in Kentucky and the old man being beaten happened in Texas. I know that's not the deep south, but I don't know that southerners are any more likely to jump in....my husband is from the deep south, and he wasn't too quick to jump in and stop that old man from being beaten......of course he knew if he went in I was right behind him!
on Nov 08, 2005

My Ponderosa experience happened in Kentucky and the old man being beaten happened in Texas. I know that's not the deep south,

Kentucky is not the south, but Texas is.  That does surprise me until you realize that many places in Texas are not really south any longer (Just as Richmond and Atlanta are not really south).  I cant speak for all the South, but I have lived here most of my life and have seen strangers step in to protect a lady (not necessarily a man, but if he was 70, that would also be considered as a Gentleman thing to do).

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