We were treated to a show with diner tonight. After a great game of mini-golf, we headed to Val’s for dinner. for those who don’t know, Val’s is a great burger joint on the border of Hayward and Castro Valley. Val’s is the kind of place you go when you want an old school burger at a reasonable price. Nothing fancy, just excellent burgers and fries. The restaurant is frequented by sports teams (to the point where they have a “No Cleets” sign above the door) as well as police officers. I’ve been to Val’s at least a hundred times over more than a decade and tonight was a first for me.
About half way through dinner, a police officer came in to have his dinner. Shortly thereafter, a gentleman sat down near us and commented on my daughter, saying that he had a daughter of similar age. I thought nothing of either of these events, but they would become intertwined. Shortly after we finished and paid for dinner, there was a loud crash and the sound of plates and glass breaking. I looked over and saw the guy who complimented my daughter and another guy engaged in an altercation. I jumped up to put myself between the fight and my kids. The police officer was immediately on his feet, separating the two participants in the fight and ordering them to the floor.
The officer had the two men handcuffed and was calling for backup before anyone really knew what was going on. Karin had pulled my daughter behind the bench seat we had been sitting on and I picked my son up and put him beside the bench as well. Our friends grabbed their kid and did the same. I’ve seen altercations in public before and generally they have ramped up from talk to yelling to physical contact, but this one was different. It started and stopped in what seemed like an instant. One of the participants was bleeding and an ambulance showed up to tend to him. It was very surreal…
The other thing that amazed me about the whole thing was that nobody in the restaurant panicked. Everyone was calm and basically backed away from the part of the restaurant where the two guys were. Shortly after the officer had the two guys handcuffed and on the floor, people were sitting back down and getting back to their dinner. One couple switched tables to get further away from where the police were doing their work. We had paid, so I followed my family out the door and we headed to our cars.
It was weird and surreal, raised our adrenaline and was over before we knew was was going on. We’re very thankful that the officer was there to keep things in hand. As he was leaving, my friend Drew Perttula took this photo of some of the police officers standing outside the restaurant.
I talked to my son about it once we got home, and he said he thought that two guys had “crashed into each other and made a mess.” I’ll be really interested to see if he wants to go back there after our next golf adventure. So, tonight we had dinner and a show. If we get a show next time, I hope that it’s a comedy rather than a drama.