Nap spoke first. "Going over there is a bad call. Your buddy took this job to make ends meet, not because he always wanted to be a waiter. I think showing up there will embarrass him, despite your good intentions."
"I don't know about that," said El Guapo. "If this guy is your buddy, I think he'll appreciate you showing some support. Shows that what he does for a living has zero impact on the friendship."
"But don't you think there are other ways to let your friend know you support him?" said Nails. "Invite them over to your house for dinner or find something to do just to hang out that won't cost anything."
Commish spoke up. "I need a little more info. Is this restaurant nearby? On the other side of town? Let's say he took a job at a place way on the other side of town when there's a similar one much closer. That says to me he really doesn't want to be seen by people he knows. I'd also want to know what his state of mind about it is. If he's talking about it, he's clearly not trying to hide it."
Mr. X joined in after listening for a while. "Good points. Also - and while its different for everybody - if this was a few years ago, when nobody was losing their job, I could see feeling embarrassed, even if there was no reason to. But today, given everybody's uncertain job status, we all know that could be any one of us. If he's open with it, I think showing up is a nice way to show Mike you're thinking of him."
"Guys, I hear you, but I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one." Bubbles spoke up for the first time that night. "Even if he's pretty open about it, does that mean he's really comfortable with the reality of it, and wants to showcase his new position for all to see? Its not like I go to your jobs to see you in action. Its one thing to talk about it, its another to serve your friends. Why take a chance?"
Commish agreed. "At the very least, wait a little bit, until you get a sense that he's really cool with the reality of it. Plus, I actually think it raises more issues, even if he's totally okay with it. What if you don't get seated in his section? Then you're just observing him. That's weird. What kind of tip do you leave? Potentially even more awkward. I say leave it alone and follow Nails' advice and have him and his family over for dinner or brunch or something."
Getting the last word in, El Guapo added "All good points fellas, but if its me I'm still going out there to show some support for my buddy. Hell, we'll make sure we all have a good time - him included!"
And that's where we left it. My wife and I ended up not going to the restaurant where Mike worked, and the more I thought about it, the more I think we made the right choice. Vote on the right and let us know what you'd do.