Heard on the Hill

Food worker chases House member hustling to votes after she didn't pay

‘She didn’t pay me!’ shouted food service worker following Rep. Carolyn Maloney into House chamber

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., was pursued by a food service worker nearly into the House chamber after being surprised by unexpected midday votes on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4:30 p.m. | House members hustled to surprise midday votes Wednesday, and in her haste, one lawmaker didn’t pay for her lunch.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney speed-walked into the chamber for the second surprise vote of the day carrying a takeout container brimming with food.

“She didn’t pay me!” exclaimed a man in hot pursuit behind her.

The House food service worker was nearly clotheslined by the sergeant-at-arms doorkeepers as he attempted to turn the corner into the chamber behind the New York Democrat.

“You are not going in there,” one SAA staffer told the man.

His eyes bulged as he realized what had happened — that the last corner he turned in his pursuit of Maloney was actually the entrance to the House chamber. Only lawmakers and select staff with special IDs can enter.

The man stood in the hallway outside the chamber for a few moments, looking embarrassed and frustrated before hustling back to where he came from. 

Maloney’s office tells Heard on the Hill that the mixup began in the Members’ Dining Room. 

“The congresswoman was surprised when she found out that the waiter thought she left without paying and was upset that he may not have gotten his tip. She had signed the bill (instead of receipt) and added a tip, thinking that the Members’ Dining Room had her card on file since she dines there often,” Maloney spokeswoman Jennifer Bell said. 

After reading an earlier version of this story, she went back to the dining room to settle the bill and ensure that her waiter got a tip. 

She called the event “one big unfortunate misunderstanding.” 

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