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Guy Walks Out Of Upscale Restaurant After Server’s Odd Response When He Asked For Tap Water

A female server holding her hand up.
Zero Creatives/Getty Images

Every now and then, when we go out to a restaurant, we might find ourselves being served by someone who is anything but hospitable.

How we handle their behavior is up to us.

Some will simply deal with it through the meal, and then teach their server a lesson by giving them a lower tip than they were probably expecting.

Others, however, simply don’t have the patience for bad or unfriendly service and let their displeasure be known immediately.

Redditor rtice001 and his wife recently treated themselves to an evening out at a high-end restaurant.

Unfortunately, their excitement was short-lived after their server had a truly bizarre response to what kind of water they wanted for the table.

Unwilling to put up with her inhospitable behavior, the original poster (OP) decided it was probably best to eat somewhere else.

Wondering if they made the right decision, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA).

The OP explained why their server’s curious behavior led he and his wife to decide to eat dinner elsewhere:

“This has been bugging me for a few days.”

“Went to dinner with my wife recently to a relatively nice place ($30-$45 pp mains).”

“Quick side note, we’re both in our 30s, and both work in hospitality and worked in kitchens for years, so we’re generally on our best behavior at restaurants.”


“We sit down and are greeted by a young woman (early 20s) who drops some menus and asks if we want to start with still or sparkling water.”

“I looked at the drink menu and saw the still was $9 and the sparkling was $12.”

“Neither of us cares that much about fancy water, so I said tap is fine.”

“She gave a sort of grimace and a small noise.”

“I asked ‘Is there something wrong with the tap water?'”

“She replied, ‘It’s very hydrating’.”

“Followed by an awkward silence.”

“This was very strange to me, so I essentially repeated the question with slightly different verbiage and once again got ‘It’s very hydrating.'”

“I looked at her with an expression of ‘please explain’.”

“More silence.”

“Eventually, I asked, ‘What does that mean?’ She said, with no emotion: ‘It will hydrate you.'”

“Now I’m feeling weird about the whole situation.”

“And I flat out asked, with no expression or connotation: ‘What’s wrong with the tap water?'”

“You guessed it!”

“‘It’s very hydrating’.”

“I stood up and told my wife, ‘We’re going’.”

“Before my wife even realized what was going on, the waitress said ‘Have a blessed day’ with the smuggest smile I’ve ever seen.”

“Am I in La-La-Land here?”

“The triplicated response seems really dumb for someone who is a ‘professional’ at hospitality.”

“Anyway- my wife suggested I took it too far by leaving.”

“In my opinion, I didn’t take it far enough and should have spoken to a manager.”

“But life’s short- and I didn’t.”

“My wife was cool with leaving.”

“We have a very equitable relationship.”

“If one of us says to the other ‘we’re leaving,’ or any variation of that, we trust each other to know we made the right call and will figure out the rest later.”

“I’m from near there and have had the tap water in the vicinity several times without issue.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

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

The Reddit community was in agreement that the OP was not the a**hole for deciding to leave the restaurant following their server’s bizarre behavior.

Everyone agreed that the server’s responses were, indeed, bizarre and unfriendly, and if the OP and his wife didn’t feel comfortable eating there, then they shouldn’t have stayed.


“That waitress was judging you because you don’t want to spend $9-12 on water.”-Georgejefferson19


“A good restaurant is in business to provide guests with a good dining experience.”

“This waitress is chasing off good business.”

“I’m fairly certain her manager would like to know that this waitress is damaging their business and their reputation.”

“That waitress has no business working in a fine dining establishment.”- stephnetkin

“It’s also ‘wet’.”

“NTA.”- mizfit0416


“Next time, instead of a tip, leave her a note that says ‘money can be exchanged for goods and services.”- FritosRule


“It is more than likely that she was judging your choice, thinking you were cheap.”

“Although there is another possible scenario.”

“You know when something is objectively bad, but you’re not allowed to criticize it, so you find a way to compliment something random.”

“Like you’re at a friend’s house, and they’ve just cooked a meal that doesn’t taste very good.”

“You can’t bring yourself to criticize their cooking directly because you don’t want to hurt their feelings, so you say something like ‘Wow, your presentation is really something else tonight!’ or ‘These plates look so fancy.'”

“That could be what happened here.”

“Their tap water may not have been great quality, or it could have had an odd taste.”

“As the waitress couldn’t think of a positive way to describe the tap water, she just went with ‘hydrating.'”- Impossible_Rain_4727


“The waiter was rude when she repeated her response after you asked for clarification.”

“You asked a legitimate question—for her to explain her reaction to your asking for tap water.”

“I would have left, too.”

“I think you should contact the owner or manager.”

“When people pay a lot of money for a meal, they deserve polite service.”- General_Relative2838

“I was traveling recently and was sat in the bar at a hotel.”

“There was a restaurant on the 20th floor, and I asked the bartender if it was good.”

“He told me it was a nice space and great for taking Instagram photos.”

“I asked him if the food was good, and he just repeated the IG line.”

“I got the message and went to eat somewhere else.”

“Suspect you had the same type of thing going on here.”- All_the_passports

“A**holery notwithstanding, this is a hilarious interaction.”

“After the second ‘it’s very hydrating’ I turn into Jim Halper, desperately looking for a camera.”-Crunchy_Leaves_Slap

“She’s been told to upsell.”

“She thinks it’s idiocy and will drive people away instead of raising ticket totals.”

“She looked smug because you’re making the same point she’s been making to management in her head but isn’t allowed to say.”

“From my waitress days anyway.”- obiwantogooutside

“Should have stayed and wrote ‘it’s very hydrating on the tip line.”- givemesomedrugs

“This is hilarious!”

“What a loon! I don’t think I would have left, but I might have said, ‘Well, that sounds delicious! Two tall glasses of very hydrating water, please! And make it extra hydrating!’”- NuclearFamilyReactor

“NTA for getting frustrated.”

“However, I think a better response would’ve been: ‘Can I please speak with your manager?'”

“The real answer to what is wrong with the tap water is that it’s free, but she doesn’t want to say that.”-_gadget_girl


“She was trying to talk you out of the free water and doing a weirdly bad job of it.”- Careless-Ability-748

“NTA and also… sparkling water isn’t for everyone.”

“I personally can’t drink it without feeling like I’m drinking a vodka soda.”

“And I don’t always want one of those.”- J3rkoffdonni3

“I’m guessing she can’t say anything negative, so went with the only positive thing she could think of to say for tap water….?”

“It’s that, or she’s as dumb as a box of rocks and doesn’t get that water is supposed to hydrate you. She’s just heard vaguely of hydration, so decided to go with that word.”- Atarlie

There were a select few, however, who felt that there may have been a reason behind the server’s unusual response, even if they didn’t judge the OP for deciding to leave:


“It was an annoying answer, but I’m willing to bet she’s been told she can’t tell people the tap water tastes bad.”

‘So she has had to come up with something to say that isn’t a lie but also isn’t going to get her in trouble.”

‘You aren’t TA for being irritated, though, and leaving.”- Latter-Shower-9888

“I see everyone assuming she was trying to manipulate you into buying water, and maybe that’s true.”

“I would assume that their tap water doesn’t taste very good, which is why she made the face, but she’s also not allowed to say anything disparaging about anything they serve at the restaurant, which is why she just kept repeating that it will fulfill the basic function of hydration.”

“For that reason, NAH because I get why you were frustrated but I can also see her being stuck between a rock and a hard place.”- BoycottingTrends

There is never an excuse to be rude to anyone under any circumstances.

Making one have to wonder what this young woman was thinking with her flippant response to a fairly reasonable question.

One can only imagine that her manager wasn’t thrilled to hear she lost business for the restaurant that night.

As well as the possibility of the OP and his wife ever returning to this restaurant ever again.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.