Being pitiful can pay on Valentine’s Day.
“If I went to Outback Steakhouse by myself tonight and asked for a table for 2 then got progressively sadder as the night went on alone, do you think they’d give me my steak for free?” Stephen Bonser pondered in a tweet to his couple hundred followers Thursday evening.
Bonser told the Washington Post it was his sister who encouraged him to actually head over to the restaurant and test his theory, offering to pay for his meal if no one footed his bill by the end of the night.
“I figured I’m getting a free steak either way,” he said. “It would be fiscally irresponsible not to do it.”
Sporting a date-ready blazer and button down, Bonser arrived at Outback Steakhouse just a few hours later for an evening of romance he knew would not come. When he was told he would still have to wait for his reserved table for two, Bonser took it in stride telling the host: “Oh that’s okay, this work’s perfectly — she said she was running a bit late anyway.”
Bonser even created a phony present for his non-existent date by wrapping jumper cables from his trunk with old shoe box paper he discovered in his backseat.
Once he was seated at his booth near the bar, a server came by to take his drink order. Bonser ordered a beer for himself and a glass of chardonnay and then “pretended to leave a voicemail saying, ‘I’m here, let me know when you’re on your way.’”
He quickly polished off his first round of complimentary bread and then ate another.
“Didn’t cut it,” Bonser tweeted. “Took it to the face and finished it in less than 60 seconds.”
Around 9:45 p.m. and just 15 minutes before the kitchen closed, Bonser decided to order his food and polish off the wine for his fake date, who he named Katherine.
“Katherine is a consultant at Deloitte. She lives in Arlington, that’s why I chose this spot. We met at the grocery store,” he wrote in a tweet. “We both went for the same bag of shredded cheese. She seemed so excited for our Valentine’s Day date.”
After his steak arrived, Bonser said he stared into the distance for nearly 10 minutes before he “dropped a piece of mac n cheese on the floor next to me. picked it up with my hand and ate it.”
After waiting a full two hours, Bonser said a a couple at the bar paid for his meal.
“Hey, bud we’ll take care of that,” he recalled the man telling him. “Sorry about that. Don’t let it get you down.”
Bonser decided to pay the couple’s kindness forward and donated $50 to the American Civil Liberties Union.
“I took all my food to go all. of. it. ate three bites of mac n cheese and never once touched the steak. my mans gave me a to go Dr Pepper so I’m leaving him a $20 tip.”
In his final tweet on the thread, Bonser begged Outback for their understanding: “pls don’t get mad at me for this I love your steak so much.”
While the internet is somewhat divided on whether Bonser is the king of Valentine’s Day or a top-level scammer, the Steakhouse seemed amused by their patron’s ploy.
“How about you bring in a real date and the meal’s on us?” it responded in a tweet. “The love connection is up to you though.”