Revenge of the Runner

“Revenge is a dish best served cold.”  I’ve always loved this saying, but little did I know I was going to have the chance to act it out……and that it would involve running.

This past summer I was traveling from Charleston, SC, to Holden Beach, NC on a weekly basis.  I would travel up to Holden Beach to work at an oceanfront restaurant with several of my close friends.  The money is always excellent during the summer months because the island mostly consists of weekly house rentals.  Also, there are only two main restaurants on the island, and I worked at the one with the oceanfront view. The majority of the renters are families from Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and other northern states.  The “tourists” as we kindly referred to them, would usually always stop into our restaurant at some point during the week.

This summer I happened to be training for the Chicago Marathon, so I was running….A LOT.  Holden Beach is an island about 10 miles long and there’s not an inch of ground on the main road that I haven’t covered.  The main road runs parallel with the beach and has a wide sidewalk for runners, walkers, and beach bike cruisers, which I would use on a daily basis.  Most days everyone is very friendly, I would get a few waves, a few honks, a few stares, and a few birds….and I’m not talking about seagulls, I’m talking about middle finger birds….. I”ve come to notice that younger drivers especially enjoy this recreational activity.  I don’t mind it so much. I wasn’t exactly a saint when I was younger and I will usually just smile and give them a thumbs up.  It kind of throws them off a bit.

But on this day, I was confronted by a new type of “Asshole Driver/Riders.” It was a pleasant evening, the sun was going down and it wasn’t too hot, so there were a lot of runners and walkers out enjoying the fresh ocean air.  I was running down the sidewalk when all of a sudden I was bombarded with the loud sound of a big black SUV’s horn right beside me.  This wasn’t just your casual beep either, this driver wanted to make a statement!!  He slowed down to my pace, laid on the horn for a good ten seconds while every passenger in the car in the car gave me the bird and screamed obscenities out of the window at me…..this lasted for about 10 seconds, and then they sped off.  All of the other pedestrians and porch observers were waiting to see my reaction.  They got nothing!  I kept my head up and continued running.  With a shot of adrenaline in me, I had the rest of the run to playback the incident a million times over in my head.

Armed with mental pictures of the suspects faces, SUV type, and out of state (Michigan) license plate, I knew there was a good chance that I would run into them later in the week.  I spent the rest of the run contemplating different scenarios of what I would do if, how and when I would meet them again. Little did I know it would happen the very next day!

I was working the dinner shift (waiting tables) at the restaurant the following night.  I was on the patio, a small section of the restaurant with only four tables in it.  One of the tables was mine, which I just gave the check to, and another table of three just sat down in the section, a girl and two guys.  I was already cut, so another server got the young three top started with some drinks.  I was cleaning the table of a couple that just left when I noticed the heavy northern accents of the three people that just sat down.  I kept cleaning while eavesdropping on the newly sat trio…I heard the word Michigan, and was immediately intrigued.  I thought to myself, “Could it be? Could it really be them????

I kept looking at them and thinking to myself, it HAS to be them!  Although I didn’t recognize the girl, the two guys fit the mental mugshots I had in my head perfectly. They were in there early twenties, Jersey Shore-ish, Affliction shirts, you know the type.  I needed reassurance, so I walked out to the parking lot and THERE IT WAS! The big black SUV with Michigan plates!!!  I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve… So many thoughts were going through my head….Should I vandalize the shiny new SUV with some food? or slash tires? For all I knew it was their parents SUV who had no idea their asshole kids were harassing runners on their family vacation…Did they deserve this type of revenge?  Then it hit me!!!!

I walked back up to the restaurant and clocked out.  I still had my uniform on and kept a close eye on the table from a far.  The server who was waiting on them was the owner’s daughter and a good friend of mine.  She dropped their dinner off at the table and went off to check on her other tables.  I waited patiently. Like a leopard watching a gazelle from the bush I waited to for the perfect time to make my move.  The mood at the table was joyful.  The sounds of laughter and talking with full mouths filled the patio.  This was my window!

I approached the table with a certain managerial/chef presence….

Me: Hey guys how is everything tonight?

Table: Its great!

Me: Are you guys from Michigan?

Table: Yeah

Me: Do you happen to drive the Black SUV in the parking lot?

Driver:  Yeah thats mine, is there something wrong?

Me:  You guys like messing with runners right?

<the guys were silent, and the girl looked confused>

Girl: whats he talking about?

Me: Oh you guys haven’t told her yet?  These guys like to fuck with runners.  Its all good though! How’s your dinner?  Does everything taste ok? I cooked it up reeeaallllyyyy special for you! (Wink) Anyways, have a good night guys enjoy your meal!

I walked back to to the kitchen and right out of the back door.  I went to the parking lot, jumped in my car and started toward the exit.  Thats when the driver spotted me… He jumped in his SUV and cut me off at the exit. He rolled his window down as I did mine…He had a balled up paper towel in his hand and was motioning like he was going to throw it at me.

Driver: Dude, did you really do something to our food?

Me: Dude, did you really fuck with me while I was running?

He didn’t expect my sharp response and thats when he threw the paper towel in my direction. I rolled up my window and left the parking lot towards the house I was staying at which was only a few blocks away from the restaurant.  He proceeded to tail me dangerously close.  I knew that this could get out of hand fast, so I cut down the road that led to the police station and that’s when he turned around and headed back to the restaurant.

Being a fairly small island, we know the local police pretty well so I continued to the police station.  I explained to them what happened and they enjoyed a good laugh at the expense of the tourists.  I gave them a description of the vehicle and they ensured me that they would make sure they get the “full Holden Beach vacation experience “.

I called up the owner/manager of the restaurant to make sure they weren’t causing any trouble.  She told me that they were complaining that I insinuated doing something to they’re food. She re-assured them that I was not a cook and bought them a round of drinks.  After hearing my side of the story, she wished I would have told her before I left…….so that she wouldn’t have had to buy them drinks 🙂 I thanked her and told her to tell the server that was waiting on them, that I would tip her if the assholes didn’t, and I went out for an extremely satisfying run!!!!

Moral of the story:  Think twice before you mess with those runners on the side of the road, you never know who they could be…..lucky for them I was only a server at the time….could you imagine if I were their dentist???

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One response to “Revenge of the Runner

  • Eric C

    Ha! I have this same experience all the time. I live in a small tourist town and regularly get assaulted by cars while riding my bike to work…then when they come in for a table and I am their server it is sooooo satisfying to watch them squirm 🙂

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