One day when he's old and gray, Derrick may recount an oddly ridiculous moment in his life, something that seemed so wrong at the time, but that the gentle passage of years has rendered humorous. Amid the creak of his rocker, a gaggle of grand kids at his feet, he'll begin, "Did I ever tell you the story of my days as a waiter when I got fired for telling the governor of Washington that Crab Louie wasn't on the menu?"
This indeed happened, as you may recall, on a brisk late-November weekend when Gov. Christine Gregoire and her husband, Mike, arrived at Anthony's Hearthfire Grill. Here's what happened next:
Hankering for a salad brimming bright with fresh crab, awash in boiled eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado and asparagus, Gregoire ordered the Crab Louie.
Derrick can count his lucky stars he wasn't in medieval Spain when the Crab Louie was ordered
It was then that Derrick, as KIRO Radio's MyNorthwest reported, broke the dreadful news to the state's highest elected official: Crab Louie was not on the menu.
Had this been medieval Spain, an order of "off with your head" surely would have been given, and the unfortunate waiter would be standing before the guillotine instead of explaining himself in an e-mail to KIRO talk-show host Dori Monson. (click here to see Seattle Weekly cover story on Dori Monson.).
Derrick, who did not want to use his last name, said to Monson that he told Gregoire that the kitchen informed him that it lacked all the ingredients necessary to make a proper Crab Louie and that previous Crab Louie-ordering customers had also been turned away.
The soon-to-be-fired waiter proceeded to let the guv and her hubby know that while the Olympia waterfront eatery was Crab Louie-less, the salad could be had at its sister restaurant, Anthony's Homeport, just a mile away.
A very cordial Gregoire and husband then left, her security detail in tow, for the other nearby fish house, not at bit bothered by having to go elsewhere.
"She had known him from a previous job and they had a pleasant chat," Gregoire's spokesman Cory Curtis told The Daily Weekly. "She even left him a nice tip for the glass of wine she had before they left."
Less than an hour after their happy departure, the ax fell.
He was summarily canned by managers, Derrick said in his e-mail to Monson, because he did not provide the governor a "high level of service." He was told that when a customer, never mind a governor, asks for something that isn't on the menu, the waiter is supposed to get a floor manager involved, which he saw no need to do.
One of the upset supervisors supposedly told Derrick, at least according to the dismissed server, that the governor had complained about his service.
"No, I called the restaurant to tell them that the governor had no problem with the service or anything," remembers spokesman Curtis, who got on the phone after Gregoire learned that Derrick has been discharged.
"They told me they had other issues with him about his performance," Curtis said.
Lane Hoss, Anthony's vice president of marketing, confirmed to us yesterday that Gregoire was in no way dissatisfied with Derrick's service.
Hoss and Hearthfire Grill restaurant manger David Faro, though, both declined to comment further.
Whether the Crab Louis mishap was a final straw, no one will say?
In any case, Derrick leaves Anthony's with a good story to tell, which we're guessing his grand kids will someday enjoy as much as Chris Gregoire does a Crab Louie.