One day I was out to lunch with co-workers when a person at the adjacent table had the indignity of having the Birthday Sombrero plopped on his head while the wait staff clapped and sang their own Birthday Song. It ended a bit unexpectedly, and in the sudden silence, a man at another table said to his wife, 'You ever do that to me, I'm leaving.' A brief pause, and the whole restaurant broke out in laughter.
I was trying to think why it wasn't a surprise to me that "Happy Birthday" was well-known around the US and other countries. If it's copyrighted it's less likely to show up in movies and TV shows, I suppose, though I don't know how much the fee is to use it--maybe not much. I know that when I took French lessons, starting in junior high, we learned to sing "Happy Birthday" in French--maybe I figured that if people in France know it, everyone in the US should as well.
Maybe it was just an assumption on my part that happened to be correct! I think I would've been totally shocked, and possibly laughed at, if it really was a US Midwest-only thing, and I assumed someone from another part of the country would know it.
I had to endure it about 4 times in a restaurant the other night. I hate the childish sound of this song and my friends have to remember not to ever inflict it on me in public.
I don't know if he meant he'd leave the restaurant or he'd leave the marriage, though.
I do feel sorry for anyone who has to make their living tormenting customers on their birthday. So undignified for everyone.
In 2010, I was at my nephew's graduation - we went out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant afterward. It happened to be my birthday. My Wonderful(?usually?) SIL let the staff know that it was my birthday.
Having the sombrero ground into a hair clip was painful and it took a very long forty or sixty seconds for the waiter with their hands on the sombrero to realize that I wasn't just complaining about the hat, but making noises indicating that I really needed to get that hat off long enough to take the clip out of my hair...
I forgave him - I also quit wearing those hair clips except around the house...you can't lean back in a chair with a high back or a car seat with a neck support while wearing one of them, either. Too uncomfortable.
This year, they took me to an Italian restaurant in Atlanta that offers a free meal for anyone on their birthday (I pulled out my drivers' license & I also got a birthday song & a bit of gelato - a very, very good gelato - as well as the tiramisu we were splitting). The three year old grandson was quite happy to "help" with the *problem* of having two desserts at the table.
*No* hats were involved.