June 9, 2003

Do You Want Fries with That?

This week's special at The Sizzler is an extra helping of attention from your waitperson for the evening:

CORONA, Calif. - A family who angered a waiter at a Norco Sizzler restaurant later was served a few dishes they didn't order: a gallon of maple syrup, raw eggs, and rolls of toilet paper across their lawn and shrubs.

Wayne Keller, 37, wife Darlene, 40, and their two children, had their home and mailbox saturated Saturday with smashed eggs and maple syrup. Their yard was decorated with toilet paper, duct tape and plastic wrap.

Police arrested several people in an SUV parked nearby, and grabbed someone darting out of the bushes.

Officers presented the alleged culprits to the Kellers.

"I can't explain how I felt," said Darlene Keller. "I just said, 'Oh, my God. It's the waiter from the restaurant.'"

Corona police arrested the waiter, his girlfriend and his two younger brothers. Police withheld their names.

Besides being booked for investigation of misdemeanor vandalism charges, the vengeful waiter also may be investigated for child endangerment because he brought his younger brothers with him, police said.

The Kellers had a dispute with the waiter earlier when Darlene Keller requested vegetables with her meal.

The waiter rudely responded the restaurant didn't have any vegetables, only baked potatoes, Wayne Keller said.

"When I told him my wife can't eat potatoes, he brought back a really small salad, practically threw it at her, and told her to go get the dressing herself," he added.

Wayne Keller asked to speak to a manager, who then cooked some broccoli and cauliflower for Darlene Keller.

Wayne Keller did not leave a tip, his wife and in-laws, who were dining with them, did.

The Kellers returned home and went to bed. At 1 a.m. Saturday, the doorbell rang.

"I looked through the security screen door and saw something black over everything," said Wayne Keller. "It turned out they'd bought a gallon bottle of maple syrup and dumped it over everything."

Police were called, and Keller noticed a white sport utility vehicle parked in a driveway across the street with its brake lights on. It drove down the street but made a U-turn and parked several houses down.

When police arrived, they ordered a young man and woman out of the SUV. The officers also arrested someone dressed in black that ran from the bushes.

The waiter told police the vandalism was "just a joke," but the Kellers are not laughing.

"We went into the restaurant to have a family dinner," said Darlene Keller, "and you turn around and come home and you've been violated." Wayne Keller added he was "scared to death. Scared they're still out there, they're out there hiding, and that they're going to come back. We're still scared."

Sizzler manager Juan Rodriguez said the waiter had been employed for 1 1/2 years and had not been a problem.

"The company doesn't allow this kind of thing. That's why he isn't coming back to work here," Rodriguez said.

Posted by Van der Leun at June 9, 2003 1:54 PM
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