It had been a stressful day today so I stopped at Caffe Terzi downstairs when I got home to have a glass of vino before going upstairs for dinner. This is sort of my usual ritual as I enjoy the peace and quiet and the soothing comfort of a nice glass or two of vino to relax me after work. Tonight, however, was anything but peaceful or quiet.
A couple entered the bar at one point and although I'm not sure about the woman, the man was an American soldier, large and well built. He was immediately loud and boisterous and it was immediately obvious to everyone in the place that he was not just drunk but extremely drunk. He was talking very loudly - borderline yelling - about nonsense stuff and eventually announced that he wanted a chardonnay. They don't have chardonnay at Caffe Terzi which made him angry as he kept demanding "I don't care, I want a f*cking chardonnay...get me a F*CKING CHARDONNAY!".
Now, Caffe Terzo has three owners and/or employees; Davide, Elena and Maria. Davide and Elena are co-owners, one works the mornings and one works the afternoons/evenings. Maria, a lovely young girl of 19, sort of floats between both. Unfortunately for her, she was working alone on this evening and was not prepared for this sudden dramatic episode. I sat at my usual table in the back observing the situation in case it got out of control. And it did...very quickly.
The couple decided to sit at one of the high tables in the front of the bar and the girl went to the bathroom. The drunk guy went to sit at the high table but was so incredibly drunk that he lost his balance getting on the stool, fell into the table and sent the entire thing crashing to the floor as the whole place looked on in horror. People rushed to help him up and he started cursing the bar, saying that they had defective stools and it was their fault that he fell. At this point, Maria rushed over to me and asked me what to do. She had a look of fear on her face and I felt horrible that a fellow American was doing this in my local place. I told her to tell him that she would NOT serve him anymore alcohol as he had obviously had too much already - that is the bar's right to refuse alcohol to drunk patrons here in Italy as it is in the US. She tried calling Davide to no avail. Not knowing what else to do, she took my suggestion, went over and informed the couple that she would not serve the guy any more alcohol. Unsurprisingly, he did not take it well. He started screaming at Maria about how him falling was the bar's fault because of the defective stools and saying things like "You didn't even ask me if I was ok when I fell, bitch!". Poor Maria was terrified. I had been sizing up the situation since they arrived and I kept thinking that this guy was pretty big, pretty drunk and pretty out of control and if worst came to worst - if it got physical - he would absolutely destroy me. But at that moment, everything went out the window. I had to try and diffuse the situation.
I got up and walked over, phone in hand and said "Hey...HEY! Do I need to call someone from the base to take you out of here?" Well, he did not like hearing this at all and he got right up in my face yelling "Oh, big man! You gonna call someone from the base?! You gonna tell on me and call the base?! Go ahead motherf*cker, call someone! I ain't scared of you motherf*cker!" I honestly thought he was going to take a swing at me but I didn't back down. I told him that yes, I would call someone or do whatever I had to do if he would not calm down and knock it off which only made him more belligerent. I'm not going to lie, I was terrified at that moment but this was Caffe Terzi and I could not allow this to happen in "my" place. I could not and I would not. But I stood my ground and to my great relief, the guy's girl grabbed him by the arm and forced him out of the place. Honestly, I don't remember ever feeling so relieved. I'm 46 years old and completely out of shape, that guy would likely have destroyed me with one punch. But all I could think of was Maria, cripes, that poor girl was not prepared to deal with such a situation. Thank God I was there to help, in whatever way I could. Fortunately they have a camera behind the bar that captured the whole episode. I told them that we need to get the video to the proper authorities on base so that asshole can get punished. More to follow on that.
Sometimes you just gotta step up and do the right thing. Frigging Americans...