Waiter Harasses an Overweight Woman: What Would You Do?

PHOTO an overweight customer
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We've all seen overweight people eat things they shouldn't and thought, "Do they really need that?" But whose right is it to decide what someone should eat? When you're dining out, should the waiter or waitress make healthier suggestions?

"I just feel like a person of your size might want to eat healthier," scolded a waiter when an overweight customer placed an unhealthy order.

Other customers looked on, horrified, wondering if they should get involved.

What they didn't know was that hidden cameras were rolling at Six Brothers Diner in New Jersey and that the waiter, Jeremy Holm, and the overweight customer, Kathryn Gerhardt, were both actors. ABC News' "What Would You Do?" wanted to learn if restaurant patrons would find our meddling waiter's suggestions helpful or hurtful.

It's a scenario taken from the front lines of the war against unhealthy eating and obesity. At some restaurants, there are mandatory calorie counts on the menu. There was even a bill introduced in Mississippi to prohibit restaurants from serving obese customers.

Our actress, Gerhardt, started her day with an order of chocolate chip pancakes, bacon and a side of home fries. This seemed to annoy our waiter, and he suggested halving her order as he broke down the calorie intake. Would the customers who noticed say something or look away?

No matter how upset Gerhardt appeared to get by his unwelcome food suggestions, the waiter was relentless and brought her a plate of "healthy" fruit to fill her up before her real order came out.

When Gerhardt asked the waiter why he was insulting her, he explained that he was just trying to be helpful.

However, nearby customers found our waiter's actions anything but helpful. One couple invited Gerhardt to join them. Another customer told Gerhardt she should just ignore the rude waiter and enjoy her food.

They consoled our overweight actress, but would they say something to our waiter? As he brought over a check to a nearby table, Joseph Martin, spoke up and told him it was not his job to insult people and that he should be fired.

'None of His Business'

In the next scene, as the lunch crowd rolled in, Gerhardt ordered a bacon cheeseburger, onion rings and a milk shake. Again, the nosy waiter commented on the huge, unhealthy amount of food.

At the next table, customers Sarah Levine and Steve Rechtman were horrified when they overheard his comments. Levine reached over to Gerhardt to comfort her and said, "It shouldn't matter to him what you're ordering -- it's none of his business."

They also confronted the waiter by demanding an apology for Gerhardt. When the waiter just shrugged, Rechtman could not sit still any longer. He stood up from his table and complained to the manager about Holm's callous treatment of Gerhardt.

The whole incident was so troubling to Levine, it brought her to tears. When ABC News correspondent John Quinones made his entrance with our camera crew and explained what was going on, Levine opened up about her concern for Gerhardt.

"It was just so jolting and upsetting," she said. "I couldn't believe it hearing it and sitting there. My heart went out to you."

This table's response surprised our actress, Gerhardt, who said, "I thought no one would come to my rescue."

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