Cocktails at O’Hare

We’d like to thank Ruth for sharing the following story.

In 1977, I was a cocktail waitress at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The Seven Continents Lounge was located in the International Terminal and was a popular watering hole and respite for weary travelers. People might have spent hours there, waiting for their flights while seeking comfort and a tasty beverage. Sometimes extremely busy and loud, sometimes quiet and almost empty, it was exciting to be working at one of the busiest airports in the world. This was the ultimate people-watching place, and, to this day, was my most interesting job.

I had seen and waited on several celebrities travelling through Chicago; Phil and Marlo, Hal Linden, The Wilson Sisters and Heart, Martin Mull, Phil Collins, Dolly Parton, to name a few. One Saturday I was working the day shift and, having opened at 10 am, I was the only waitress with Tom the bartender. Several guests came in and sat on opposite sides of the large room. I approached each of the three tables to get drink orders all together so they did not have to wait too long for service.

I served the last table, walked towards the bar, and noticed two new guests seated by the railing. I greeted the men, saw both were unshaven, a bit rumpled, and in my opinion, rough around the edges. As the first man ordered “the biggest margarita with salt you can make”, I realized it was Bill Murray! His friend ordered “the biggest Bloody Mary you can make”, but I did not recognize him.

When I asked Tom to make those drinks, he chose oversize brandy snifters, which would hold two regular sized drinks each. I returned with their huge drinks and Bill stood up, looked me right in the eye, and said, “I’ve never seen such long legs before”. And we were eye to eye; I am 6’2” and so is he. Back in the day, my uniform was a black body stocking, black tights, and a long three-button vest, which barely covered my behind. I remember turning as red as my vest, then blurting “You are my favorite actor on SNL.” He said thank you. More guests came in and I went to attend them.

It wasn’t too long before I noticed that Bill and friend were gone. I went to clear the table and saw both snifters empty, each with a $10 bill underneath. They had paid their bill at the bar and left me that very nice tip. You can believe this story – it’s true.

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