My (Almost) Run-In With #44

Today America gets another President. I won’t bore you with a political post, because honestly I’m tired of this election, the politics, and the fighting. Also, I’m not usually funny when it comes to politics….

I did read the letter #44 has written to the American people as he prepares to leave office. One line talked about the mourning he has done with the people of Charleston. I will say, I was completely aggravated when Dylann Roof and his cowardly acts of violence brought #44 to my current city of Charleston, but he never bothered to go to Newtown, CT in 2012. Newtown, you see, is my hometown. I felt like #44 should also have grieved and cried with Newtown…..but he apparently had other things to do. Nonetheless, he came to Charleston (I have my own theories on why, but again, that is not what my blog is about) and I came within a few feet of #44 at one point….but only after I spent about two hours thinking I was going to die in a diner downtown. Seriously. Oh, and there was a robot…

I was working at a shotgun diner downtown when the funeral for our dear Senator who was murdered by Dylann Roof was being held one block away (the AME church where it all took place was roughly three blocks away). Now I’ve met a lot of characters waiting tables, but the lady in the wig and bad makeup at table 1 was about to take the cake. Then she brought in her luggage. This would have been fine, except she started to unpack.

The day was already odd, with the street blocked off for the funeral, the Presidential motorcade being parked outside, and secret service in and out of the diner all morning. Now we have a crazy lady at table one. Talking to her, things just got crazier. She wanted to know if she could leave her bags with us while she went to the funeral. 

Ummmm, that’s a big ol’ NOPE. The fact there was no room aside, we aren’t holding bags for a stranger who now has about 30 medication bottles on display. Also, we don’t serve egg whites, no matter how many times you ask.

She proceeded to order fruit and continue rumaging through her stuff. The other server and I are just watching this, waiting for her to leave. Then I notice it’s not just secret service outside, but the FBI is now gathering.

I inform the manager, who looks out the large glass windows and says “Well that’s not good for business,” before he turns back to the eggs he’s cooking. 

A customer goes to leave.

An agent asks them to step back inside the diner and stay put awhile.

This is where I start to panic. The woman by the door at table one is in her own world as Charleston police start to also gather. 

The phone rings.

Another store who shares the parking lot behind us wants to sneak some customers in our back door because they can’t get out either. As I’m informing the manager, Doug, about this with panic in my voice, I look up in time to see a robot move down the street.

I tell Doug about the robot, and now I have his attention and not the eggs. He steps out into the street to talk to an agent. Now the ATF is here. WTF do we need ATF for???

I’m now in the back trying to call Bill……who let his phone die and now I’m going to die, and I can’t say goodbye. 

Doug comes back inside and tells me and the other server (Alli) the cops are looking for a woman with a wig because of a discarded suspicious package out back. 

Not only am I am out to die, but I have to do all the police work first.

SHE’S AT TABLE ONE!!!!!!

Now Alli is worried.

I still can’t get a hold of Bill (like his phone will magically turn on) and so I call my friend Michelle and send her to the house. I’m pretty convinced I’m going to die at this diner. For all I know the news is outside, and Bill will get wind of this before I can talk to him. Michelle talks me off the ledge and I join everyone else in watching the street.

The police ask the lady at table one into the street and almost an hour goes by. We can’t leave, and there are more law enforcement agents on our little street, than in Washington, DC during an inauguration. Meanwhile, President Obama is a block away singing Amazing Grace with thousands of people. If the presidency didn’t pan out, the man could have easily made it big in Broadway. Like him or not, he can sing!!

Anyway, back to the package.

We start clearing down inside the restaurant to close. The police slowly start getting people out to leave. I’m still stuck, and I have no idea what the robot is doing….or why we have such a thing in Charleston….or where they took the crazy lady with the wig.

Long story short, the package turned out to be nothing and the police searched her bags before asking her to leave. The bag she tossed had coconut oil and bubble wrap in it, and she PROBABLY just didn’t think about throwing it out so close to where the President was speaking.

It wasn’t long after the street was cleared of the excess undercover agents the motorcade was brought past the diner, and we all stood in the window, watching over a dozen black SUV’s fly by. At some point, I was within feet of the President of the United States….oh, and I didn’t die.

I still don’t know why we have a robot, or what that lady was really up to…but one day I can tell my kids I was detained in a diner by ATF, FBI, CIA, and Charleston police as #44 passed right by me. Let’s hope #45 doesn’t make my life so eventful!

I’m working today but I’m hoping to catch some of the inaguration. Will you be watching?

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