When you’re serving booze, you’re bound to hear some sob stories. And these bartenders couldn’t help but share the ones they’ve heard while they’re on the job.
These 14 beer jockeys from AskReddit give you their worst… which turn out to be their best…. in a way.
Let’s check ’em out!
1. “Something in him just broke.”
“I live in a small town, and everyone knew this man who was always walking around muttering to himself.
He was known for being a mad old man, and it was better if you were not in his way.
I remember working at a supermarket, and he threw his broccoli at me for being too slow.
Years later, he came to the bar I worked at and told me he tried to commit suicide by hanging himself. He lived in an old house and the wooden beam he hanged himself on came down.
I felt so sorry for thinking this man was a lunatic my whole life. He must have had a very hard life and I can’t imagine how he must have felt.
He died a couple weeks later of a heart attack. His children wrote on the obituary notice in the newspaper that their dad was finally reunited with the love of his life and they hope he is being his old self again in heaven.
My grandmother told me she was his neighbor for a long time.
His wife was Jewish, and he did everything he was able to do to keep her away from the Nazis when Germany invaded the Netherlands.
Even though they were only dating for a short time, when she got deported to a concentration camp, he even wanted to pretend he was Jewish too, just to be with her.
After the war his fiancée came back and he had always been a very happy, friendly man since.
After his wife died something in him just broke.
I really hope there is a heaven and this man can be happy again with his wife.”
2. The saddest love song
“This crippled Vietnam vet used to come in every karaoke night and sing the same song: Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers.
That super-sad song about love.
Turns out his wife died of cancer a while back, and now, this is how he remembers her.”
3. Brain drain
“I worked at a pretty rough bar when I was young, the sort frequented by bikers and other social outcasts where there’s more tattoos on display than clean skin.
One of the regulars was a guy of about 50 who had brain damage. He had done time in prison, and the inmates had put him in a commercial spin-dryer which damaged him irreparably.
He couldn’t articulate words very well and pretty much kept to himself, but was always courteous and friendly when spoken to.
One day the police arrived and took him away.
Turned out he had killed his mother (with whom he lived) with a kitchen knife about a week earlier and had continued going about his daily routine as normal, because he didn’t grasp the significance of what he had done.
It affected me for a long time because of the overwhelming sadness of it all.”
4. The blood
“I had a guy come in once and sit at the bar, and he just sat staring at the bar top.
After a few beers he finally looked up and we started chatting.
He had just been walking through downtown Portland and a man had jumped off the 30th story of a building and landed at his feet.
He still had blood on him.
I gave him a free beer because WHAT THE F**K.”
5. A happy ending
“Just the other night I had a guy in who was on a vacation solo because his wife filed for divorce right before they were supposed to leave.
Yesterday, he got a call that his father died.
Our planned entertainment for the evening happened to be a 20-something guy who played nothing but acoustic love songs for the first part of his set.
Poor guy just started sobbing.
Thankfully, the musician altered his set list and a couple of guys also solo at the bar bought the guy a drink and hung out with him, and at one point they even had him laughing.
Really restored my faith in people.”
6. At least he was laughing.
“I have a very sweet regular who used to order food to-go and have a glass of wine and a cigar in his car while waiting for it.
One night, he unexpectedly comes in and sits down at the bar to get dinner.
It’s a bit of a slow night so we get to chatting. I ask him how he’s doing and he looks me in the eye with this peculiar smile and says, ‘You know my wife, that gorgeous blonde I used to come in with? She died of cancer last week.’
He goes on to tell me about how perfect their life was up until the diagnosis, and how our to-go food was sometimes the only thing that sounded good to her during chemo.
This all happened on the 15th anniversary of my father’s death from melanoma. We both got teary, and I bought his meal.
After he left, I had to spend a few minutes in the back trying to get my s**t together.
Couple weeks ago he brought in his first date since his wife passed. Glad to say they had a wonderful time.
It was nice to see him laughing.”
7. The no good, very bad ending.
“A guy told me how he had two kids, and he broke up with his wife because she had a drug problem and he got custody of the kids, but she was allowed to see them at a once-a-year visit.
So, he brought the kids to her place, and they cried because they didn’t want to see her.
The next day he found out she shot both kids, and she was in jail.
He got his kids’ gravestones tattooed on his back and even showed me.
8. We’ve all been there.
“I’ve bartended in the same town for many, many years and see the same people at every bar I work at.
My very favorite regular is a Vietnam vet with severe PTSD, early onset dementia, and a serious drinking problem. Very few people are kind to him and he’s been 86’d from nearly every bar in town, because he looks, to the casual observer, like a worthless drunk.
However, having heard just a fraction of his story and knowing the s**t he’s been through, I find it hard not to show him kindness and respect.
Well, a few years back, he was on his first and only drink of the night at my bar. He was pretty blitzed, and I couldn’t rightly serve more than that since I knew he was walking home.
Anyway, a young man stumbled in and sat down and showed me his military ID. He ordered a drink and sat at the opposite end of the bar from the older regular customer.
He told me he had just finished his second tour in Iraq. His best friend had died from injuries sustained in a roadside bombing, and he was pretty torn up about it.
He got home and realized his girlfriend had been f**king another one of his best friends while he was overseas. He had joined the military right out of high school, mostly due to pressure by his father.
It hit me all at once that the two men at my bar were exactly alike, save 25-30 years in age.
Before I could process how parallel their lives were and how this young man may very well end up exactly like the older man, my regular got up from his bar stool and walked over to the young man at the opposite side.
He shook the young man’s hand, leaned in and said, ‘Trust me, brother, I know. You’re a hell of a guy.’
It was such a poignant moment. To anyone else, it may have looked like a random drunken ‘I love you, man!’-type moment, but it was so much more and so simply stated that it brought me to tears.”
9. Drinking for free.
“I once had a guy tell me that his fiancée had just died the previous night. She had a heart attack or something sleeping next to him, and he woke up to find her gone.
They were supposed to get married in a few months. He kept saying how he might have been able to help her if he had woken up.
He had been at work all day, because he owned his own store and couldn’t afford to close.
It was f**king heartbreaking.
I let him drink for free.”
1o. He REALLY loved his dog.
“I was bartending one afternoon, when a man came in who had just come from putting down his old dog.
He told me about all their great years together, choking back tears a few times.
While tending to another customer, I glanced over to see him deeply inhaling the scent of the dog off of its collar he’d saved, tears rolling down his cheeks.”
11. Mother f**cker!
“I used to tend bar at a gay bar once in a while. On a very crowded Friday night an older woman came in, sat at the bar and ordered a drink.
She then started small chit-chat, and I was being the usual bartender of answering, smiling, and making drinks at the same time.
After maybe 10 minutes, she starts talking to me about how her teenage son just came out, and she and her husband kicked him out, and basically distanced themselves from him.
She apparently came in to just get a feel for gay culture and talk to someone. Apparently, she knows she probably did wrong, but she was really religious, and her husband was too.
This whole time I’m trying to tend bar and make drinks, but I can’t just turn this woman away.
So, she had no idea where her son was anymore and I eventually just yelled, ‘Go find him! Why the f**k are you in here wasting time?!!?’
She left, but I wonder WTF happened to her and her family.”
12. Super Bowl blues
“During the Super Bowl a few years back, a woman sat alone at one of my lounge tables. I stepped from behind the bar to take her order and she was simply staring at the television, crying.
After I brought her a single order of egg rolls (chain restaurant appetizer), she looked at me with this desperate sadness.
I finally asked her if she was OK, completely uncomfortable and concerned, when she said:
‘My husband of fifteen years is at this game. He said with co-workers, but someone called me weeks ago saying he was really going with his girlfriend. I never expected he was cheating. I hired a detective, and its true. He’s cheating.
My lawyer had him served with divorce papers just before he left for the game. He hasn’t called me.’
Then she went back to watching the game, crying.
I imagined she was waiting to spot him in some off chance miracle.
I tried to buy her drinks and meal, but she refused, saying her dinner was on her husband.
She disappeared while I was in the kitchen and left me a huge tip.”
13. A new friend?
“I had a regular that used to come in every day, drink his beer and cry.
I always just kind of ignored it until I found out that he was crying because he went home one day and his wife had just packed up all of her belongings and left him.
I finally sat down and talked to him about it, and he mentioned that he never used to drink and that her leaving made him want to.
He has actually become a good friend of mine and is sitting at the bar with a new girlfriend as I type.”
14. The worst genes
“A guy used to come into the Jamaican restaurant/bar I was working at.
So, I ask him how things are and he tells me that the third of his 4 kids had just died of some type of cancer.
The gene responsible for the susceptibility to this cancer came from the father’s side, so his wife was leaving him.”
Well, I kind of want to go cry in a corner now, right? These people from Reddit share the best/worst stories imaginable.
What about you? Have a sad story you want to share?
Let us know in the comments!