Finally! The Arnold Schwarzenegger story I now have good reason to tell. My cousin shared it with me one night after finishing up her lunch shift.
She waitressed at an upscale westside cafe and local spot for several celebrities. David Mamet made it a regular place to write, sometimes sitting at a table for three hours. Frances McDormand and Joel Coen also dined there with their kids from time to time. But her interaction with Arnie is the most memorable one.
He came in with his whole family for brunch. The restaurant manager wanted to be sure they got amazing service so she gave away all of my cousin's tables to other waiters. The Schwarzeneggers took their time eating, staying long enough for the morning rush to pass and the cafe to thin out. Arnold's family ordered half the menu, ran my cousin ragged, and left the table and floor a mess.
The $200.00 bill (breakfast food!) was paid. The wife and kids left. Arnold stayed to leave the tip. He opened his wallet and thumbed through a wad of hundred-dollar bills. Finally he found the bill he was looking for.
Out came a five dollars. A five...dollar...bill.
He plunked the cash on the table, tucked away his wallet, and walked out.
Some people want it all without having to pay a price. His legacy lives on.