Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fifty Years Waiting Tables and Still At It

Seu Luiz
If Luiz de Oliveira isn't the world's oldest practicing waiter he's surely close to being so, as we can't imagine there are many other men who still wait tables at the age of 90. Sr. Oliveira, or Seu Luiz as he's known to the legions of his faithful customers, still works at Bar Leo, a very traditional bar in downtown São Paulo, something he has done for more than 50 years. These days he works Mondays to Thursdays from 2 pm to "when I'm tired", as he puts it.

According to Seu Luiz (as told to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper recently) the two most important achievements in his life are having been a waiter at Bar Leo for 50 years and a Palmeirista (a supporter of São Paulo football/soccer team Palmeiras) for 90.

During his long career at the bar seu Luiz estimates that he has served at least half a million glasses of draft beer (chope). His faithful customers are numberless, but among them are some very famous people - in the 1960s, Che Guevara, who loved the bar's potato salad, and in the 50s Jânio Quadros, who would go on to be President of Brazil.

Seu Luiz is famed as a friendly, competent and fast waiter, but he does have his standards, which he will not bend for any customer. He will not serve a beer without a three-finger foamy head, and he won't serve canapes without mustard. Don't even bother asking - seu Luiz's usual response to customers who ask for a draft without a head is, "Draft with a head is the way it's served here. If you don't want it that way, no problem though. There's a bakery across the street that serves draft without a head."

A few weeks ago customers, present-day and former staff, and many members of the press gathered at Bar Leo to celebrate seu Luiz's illustrious career. Although he refuses to give interviews, he did answer a few questions at the celebration:

When were you born? 1921

Where? The city of São Paulo

Being a waiter is?  A calling

Your passion is?  Palmeiras

Draft beer without a head is?  Not draft beer

Women? I'm a bachelor, but I don't fault for women, ok?

Your dream? To live another 90 years

Let's all hope his dream comes true. He's an inspiration to us all.

No comments:

Post a Comment