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Woman Walks Out After Boyfriend Brings A Bell To Restaurant To ‘Grab’ The Staff’s Attention

Man ringing small bell when his glass is empty
YKD/Getty Images

A saying we all should know and put into practice is, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

And negative people will often reveal themselves through how they treat people who work in the service industry, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Blain-Ad-5996 was recently looking forward to having a nice dinner with her boyfriend, who was fairly new to living in her country.

But when he produced a bell from his pocket to keep the server’s attention on their table, the Original Poster (OP) was absolutely appalled.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for canceling dinner when my boyfriend brought a bell to the diner to ‘grab’ the staff’s attention?”

The OP was excited to spend some time with her new boyfriend.

“I (30 Female) have been dating my boyfriend Rhett (31 Male) for 4 months.”

“We live in a different town and he’s not from here (he’s American living here), and he usually visits on the weekends. This time, I decided to visit his town and eat out at a diner.”

But Rhett quickly spoiled their evening.

“Rhett was already there when I arrived at the diner. We talked some and then checked the menu.”

“When it was time to order, he pulled a small bell out of his jacket pocket, lifted it up then started shaking it.”

“It produced a loud, annoying sound, and my ears started hurting. I was so confused-“

“I asked what he was doing, and he said that he was trying to get one of the waiter staff’s attention.”

“I said it was embarrassing and that he should stop right then, but he kept shaking it.”

“I cannot begin to explain the looks we received from everyone. I demanded he stop, but he said not until someone came and took our order.”

“I threatened to leave the place and cancel dinner if he wouldn’t, but he kept doing it.”

The argument escalated outside of the restaurant.

“Someone came, but I’d already gotten up, took my purse, and started making my way out.”

“He followed me and started arguing about walking out, but I told him that I couldn’t take being embarrassed by him.”

“He got upset and said that he didn’t get why I thought the bell was embarrassing and explained that it was a perfect solution for no longer being forced to wait until someone shows up.”

“I asked if it was acceptable to do this in America, and he said, ‘Yes, because it’s a free country and people there usually don’t give a s**t.'”

“I said it’s inappropriate and embarrassing here.”

“He said I was being too sensitive and overreacted over nothing. He insisted we go back inside but I refused.”

The OP was appalled when Rhett demanded an apology. 

“We ended up leaving, and he kept on about how I ruined dinner by canceling it and offending him by acting like his behavior is shameful.”

“I said I had a right to give an opinion on what he’s done, even if he thought what he was doing was fine.”

“He basically told me to get off my high horse and stop calling his ‘genius’ idea embarrassing.”

“He’s been sulking for days now and wants an apology. Maybe I overreacted, maybe it’s nothing where he lives, but here, it’s just unacceptable.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some could not believe anyone would treat waitstaff so poorly.

“NTA. He sounds insufferable. It’s always a red flag when someone thinks they can treat wait staff like their personal servants.” – enbysquad

“American here, military brat so I have loved in 20 states in my 39 years of life.”

“General etiquette for trying to get a server’s attention: Try to make eye contact with your server. Or make eye contact with any server, and quietly say ‘excuse me’ as one passes by.”

“That is what NORMAL D**N ADULTS do.”

“NTA.” – corrin_avatan

“NTA. Rhett is weird at best and disrespectful and entitled at worst. The second-hand embarrassment of being on a date with a man who brought a bell to dinner would have vaporized me on the spot.” – peachpinkjedi

“I’ve been snapped at and whistled at, and every time I just completely ignore them. I’m not a dog, lol. If someone did this to me I think I’d confiscate the bell.” – SpamLandy

“American, former waitress, and food enthusiast. I have NEVER had someone bring a bell in, or have someone snap fingers at me. Management would ask the offending party to stop, then kick them out for creating a disturbance.”

“Your boyfriend is just a d**k and honestly, you should dump him.” – ajax2476

“As an American who returned to waitressing and cooking (small restaurant, we all are cross-trained) when I went back to college for the second time this is not normal, not acceptable, not appropriate, and at least at my restaurant would get him bounced. Shoot, we’d be volunteering to be the ones to kick him out.”

“NTA at all. What you did was right. Thank you for standing up for service employees. I wish everyone was like you.”

“What Rhett did was 1000000000% TA and it’s a few jerks like him that give all Americans a bad name. I promise most of us are friendly and compassionate unlike this entitled piece of doggy doo.”

“And not to tell you what to do, but please look at his overall behavior and carefully consider if this waste of space and oxygen is worth your time and affection. Since he’s being a salty beast for being called out on pathetically poor behavior, I’m guessing he’s not.” – MorpheusesMuse

Others agreed and confirmed this was not acceptable in the United States, either.

“NTA. A lot of people in America would care about an extremely loud, obnoxious noise that someone was rudely producing to get the waitstaff’s attention.”

“Holy cow, your boyfriend is a giant AH. It’s not a genius idea, it’s an incredibly stupid idea.” – StitchandReuben

“NTA. That is definitely not normal behavior here in America. Everybody here would probably SAY something to him instead of just looking.” – Friendly_Key_9027

“Why is it always the absolute worst specimens of humanity that go abroad and make all Americans look like a**holes? No wonder other countries think so poorly of us.”

“That is not normal and I’d be furious if my boyfriend did that. NTA.” – dslwmn


“Oh my god, this is NOT an American thing, what the f**k is he trying to pull?”

“I’m second-hand embarrassed for you.” – makerblue

“I’ve been American since the day I was born, and I have never in my life seen someone bring a f**king bell into a dining establishment to get attention from a server. That would be considered outrageously rude anywhere I can think of in the U.S.”

“He is flat-out lying to you to try to justify his behavior. You were right to call him out on it and leave.”

“Here’s the other major problem with this guy: even if it were acceptable behavior here (AND IT’S NOT), he’s not in the U.S. now, and you told him what he was doing was not suitable for wherever you are.”

“He ignored you, he doubled down and kept doing it anyway, and he is still acting like a child by demanding that you apologize to him.”

“Honey. This is not the one. NTA.” – cleanyourmirror


“American here. I have never known anyone to carry their own bell to get the attention of the waitstaff. Ever.”

“That is rude and condescending.”

“You shouldn’t just walk out of the diner. You should walk out on the relationship. What kind of AH does something like that?” – GreekAmericanDom

Some encouraged the OP to not spend another minute with this guy.

“NTA, but seriously, are you going to keep dating such a childish and entitled man? I wonder if he will use it to call his future wife to bring him his dinner and beer.” – Kellymargaret

“NTA. People in America do NOT bring a bell to a restaurant to get the staff’s attention. He’s a 31-year-old toddler and it’s time for you to walk away from him.” – Beck2010

“Why are you still with him? You can do so much better. That kind of behavior is just toxic. And you have only been together for four months, meaning this is his best behavior. Dump him!” – thebohoberry

“NTA. You’re only 4 months in. Get out.”

“1. It is NOT acceptable in America.”

“2. If it is acceptable in his rude-a** culture in a pocket of America, he should still conform to the norms of the country he is in.”

“3. The way one treats waitstaff is a good indicator of how he’ll treat you one day.”

“4. HE ruined dinner with his shameful behavior.” – 4682458

“Hard NTA! I can’t imagine that being okay ANYWHERE.”

“To sum it up:”

“He’s got zero respect for the wait staff who are trying to give service to more than one table; in my opinion, he acts as if the staff are less than human. Treat service staff with respect, and be polite. Jeez. Big red flag.”

“He’s got zero respect for everyone else trying to eat their meal. Big red flag.”

“He’s got zero respect for the person he is dating; when you asked him to stop he ignored you. Big red flag.”

“He’s completely unwilling to accept that he might be wrong; when told his behavior is unacceptable he refuses to take anyone else’s perspective but his own. He’s moved countries for God’s sake; even if a bell WAS okay in his home country (or hometown), he needs to adjust to a new culture and listen to the ‘locals’! Big red flag.” – ACB1984

The subReddit felt terrible that the OP thought she might have been wrong for walking out of the restaurant that day, but they believed she had done absolutely the right thing by standing up for the servers and herself.

Not only was her boyfriend lying to her about what was “acceptable in America,” but he had treated the staff terribly, and generally, treating someone in the service industry poorly is a terrible indication of what is to come.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.