Sep 24, 2014

my claim to fame

I have one claim to fame. One. This is the kind of thing I save for moments with new people or at parties where there is dreaded awkward silence, and it always instigates lots of interest and questions and even admiration.

Once upon a time.... I was Taylor Swift's waitress. 'Once upon a time' being a looong time ago. For reference, she was dating Taylor Lautner at the time. And her hair was still crazy long and crazy curly.

You may want to know: why am I blogging about this now? Today I was reflecting on my life history while ironing socks as my seven-month-old took a gloriously long afternoon nap and realized I have never recorded the one thing I may always be known for.  So this post is directed to my posterity: Your great-great-great grandmother was Taylor Swift's waitress. You don't know who Taylor Swift is? Google her. You still have Google, right?

So here's what happened (in excruciating detail):

I was living in Lawrence, Kansas and working at one of my favorite jobs of all time, Jefferson's Restaurant (Peace, Love and Hot Wings!). It was nearing closing time on a slow weeknight. Our manager, Sarah, was making up little slips of paper for each member of the waitstaff to draw: if you chose the one with the star, you got to head home early. She was interrupted with a phone call. We waited a little impatiently as she spoke with a customer, who was obviously asking about business hours. Sarah suddenly had a startled look on her face. She ended the call with "okay, see you in a little bit!" and the entire staff groaned. We were closing in half an hour, why would she encourage someone to come for dinner, inevitably order the most complicated menu item and stay way past 9:00?

She explained: "I think Taylor Swift is on her way." The guy on the phone had indeed asked about business hours and stated he had a party of 10 that would like to make reservations. Sarah informed him that our restaurant did not take reservations, and was in fact closing soon, but we would be happy to serve them if they arrived before then. The guy said "What if I told you Taylor Swift was a member of the group?" Sarah hesitated, but immediately assured him we would stay open for business and be glad to save a table (in the nearly empty restaurant).

There had been rumors that Taylor Swift had been visiting campus that week. Her best friend, the red-headed girl in this music video, attended KU on a swimming scholarship. She came into Jefferson's often. We knew her as "Taylor Swift's best friend who was in that music video". The best friend was a dreaded same-side-sitter with her boyfriend, but that's another story for another day.  So Sarah knew there was a slight--maybe even good--chance that this caller may be telling the truth, and we had better prepare in case he was.

So the slips of paper that were intended to free one of us waitresses were jostled in her hands for one of us to pick who would serve Her Majesty Taylor Swift. And guess who chose the piece of paper with the star? Bet you can't!

I'll be honest. I'm not a huge fan of Taylor Swift's music.  Neal is at least five times the fan I'll ever be. He loves the song "We are NEVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER!" especially the part "like, ever", and once we watched the movie Valentines Day and he laughed hysterically at all of her scenes as I criticized her lack of acting skills. I will admit, her songs are very catchy and I do know pretty much all the words to the most popular ones (read: all of them). Also, I follow her in instagram, but that isn't true fandom. What I am a fan of is meeting famous people, which has only happened to me one other time, in 9th grade, with LaVar Burton of Reading Rainbow at a William Allen White book conference (nerd!), and let's be real. I didn't meet him, I saw him.

So I was both thrilled and nervous when I realized I might get to take Taylor Swift's dinner order.  We all anxiously waited and sure enough, a posse strolled in with tall, beautiful, famous Taylor Swift in company.

This post is getting alarmingly long so I'm going to give you the cliff notes:

  • She had a big number 13 (her favorite number, as everybody knows!) in glitter on her right hand
  • She kept her blonde, curly head down, scrolling through her phone most of the time. She didn't talk much, or seem very interested in the people she was with. I couldn't see who she was texting but I was SURE it was Taylor Lautner.
  • To eat: Chicken tenders and french fries from the kid's menu. Honey Mustard for dipping sauce. Only ate one chicken tender, did not want a to-go box. As I was entering her order in the computer, Sarah was reading over my shoulder and I said defiantly, "I am letting her order off the kids menu", which was strictly forbidden of customers over 12 years old. She just laughed.
  • To drink: Diet Pepsi. I was too nervous and mesmerized by her beautiful, curly mane to grab her a refill, so I convinced my co-worker Morgan to do it. I also convinced her to deliver her meal. So basically...Morgan ended up being Taylor Swift's waitress. And I don't think "convinced" is the appropriate word here. Morgan had the confidence to reach around the golden curtain of hair and set the perfectly cooked chicken tenders down and say "here you go, Taylor!" What?! First name basis? I can't even mention her in this post by just her first name. Morgan's the name, confidence is the game. 
  • Taylor Swift paid for her friend's meal, (the friend also ordered off the kids menu) so I think the total was 7ish dollars. She paid with a 20 and told me to keep the change. So she left me an approximately 186% tip. 
  • Jefferson's walls and ceiling are absolutely covered in $1 bills. There are layers of these bills, decorated in marker by thousands of customers (am I making you want to rob the place?). Sarah brought Taylor Swift a dollar and some markers and politely asked if she would be willing to decorate one. And she did! Taylor Swift is quite the artist (as all of her instagram followers know) and made an "it's a love story" dollar bill that we all admired for some time after she had left.
There it is. Everything you'd want to know about being Taylor Swift's waitress at a wing joint. If you're wondering why I didn't get a picture with her, just remember that I was too scared to even refill her Diet Pepsi.

You would be intimidated by that hair too.


  1. Oh. My. Coolness. That is awesome!

  2. I'm possibly the biggest Taylor fan ever (or at least in my last 20's) and I don't recall this story... Maybe our silences lacked awkwardness