It’s a place where friends go to have a few drinks and it turns into an all night event. A place where bustling waitresses almost seem to sprint by with a tray crammed full of delectable dishes. A place where the night’s basketball game is being blasted out of at least 35 flat screen television sets. The people and the place both exude fun.
One man sits amidst this commotion, eating alone.
The place is the new Miami Lakes Miller’s Ale House and it opened on Wednesday. As the booths around this man are full of lively, young high schoolers or groups of co-workers, probably discussing the latest office rumor or how much of an idiot their boss is, Richard sits and looks around.
The assumption is that his name is Richard. This is because as he sits watching the Miami Heat basketball game, a phone call comes in and his answer is “This is Richard, can I help you?”
So Richard, wearing a baby blue, long sleeve button-down shirt and khaki slacks finishes up his call and goes back to watching the game. He doesn’t look around, doesn’t give off a sense of being nervous and definitely does not make this seem like it is his first time eating alone.
With his feet up on the booth in front of him, Richard is at ease. He screams at the television screen every time Dwayne Wade loses the ball or Lebron James makes some kind of big mistake. He cheers when they score and even leans over to high five the guys at the table behind his, who have now taken down 3 pitchers of beer in less than an hour.
Not Richard, though.
He sits with a large glass of water and a plate of boneless buffalo wings. He has a drip of sauce down by his bottom left lip but no one around him seems to mind much.
The waitress constantly checks on him and asks him if he wishes to order anything else every time she comes around.
Regarding those who wish to dine alone, Nadia Arufe, a waitress at the Ale House says that since they just opened, she can’t really say much about solo diners yet. “It doesn’t look like we’ve had too many loners today,” she says. “I don’t usually judge people just for coming in alone. Now, if you come in here alone and start acting socially awkward then there’s a chance I’ll think you’re a little strange.”
But Robert does not look awkward. He doesn’t look uncomfortable or embarrassed. He’s rather smug with the ice cream cake the waitress has now brought him. He digs in, hardly breathing between bites. Once in a while, he comes up for air and gives the guys at the other table another high five.
As his cake disappears, Richard seems to have reached the end of his meal. He doesn’t even wait for the check and leaves the waitress a crisp $50 bill. Clearly the wings, cake and water didn’t cost him $50 but Richard must be feeling generous. There’s no sign of this being a negative experience for him and his waitress probably won’t think so either.