Chapter Twenty-Eight

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There have been a few situations in my life that have been less than ideal. In each case, I have had a choice: do something, or do nothing. I was now facing one of those instances. I needed to make more money, that was a fact, and what I was doing was not working.  

I once again went out to the internet café and updated my résumé with my latest work experience. I printed out a dozen copies, but only applied to all the restaurants in the neighborhood. 

A few days later, I received a phone call from Kim, the manager of Ray's on Top Restaurant. Despite its uplifting sounding name, it was a double entendre - the restaurant was owned by a guy named Ray and was literally located on top of a drug store. Ray's was a local hotspot for the 'in crowd' because of the attractive staff, positive vibes, and unique menu. I was invited to go in for an interview. 

"I see you applied to be a server," Kim said. 

"Yes, that is correct. I believe my skill set makes me an excellent candidate for a server position." 

"Unfortunately, we only hire servers who have had prior serving experience; however, I wanted to discuss another position we have available. It is an entry level position, but you could eventually be trained to be a server." 

It was the same old story. I knew I could do the job, but there was always something, or someone, holding me back.  

"What is the position that's available?" I asked.  

I was willing to take anything at that point. After all, if I worked as hard as I had in the past, I would surely be promoted to a server. I needed the money and I knew servers made a lot more than I did. Ashley made close to two grand a month at the pancake house. I needed to start making that kind of money.  

"We have a part-time busser position available. The busser's job is to ensure all the tables are ready for our guests. They are also responsible for food running, stocking cutlery, and assisting the bartender and chef with a variety of odd jobs. So if you're looking for a job that offers diversity, we would love to bring you on board. So what do you say, are you up for the challenge?" 

*** 

I started out just working some night shifts and weekends. The pay was minimum wage, but I received a small percentage of the tips every night, usually around ten bucks a night. 

As usual, I worked really hard trying to impress everyone. I went beyond what was expected of me. I did everything before the manager even thought to ask me. I swept and mopped the floors, restocked all the dishes for the kitchen staff, helped the dishwasher load and unload, cleaned the bathrooms, watered the plants, changed lights, you name it. From the moment I started, until the end of my shift, I wanted to make it very obvious no one would outwork me.  

"Trevor, I just want to let you know we appreciate all your hard work," Kim said to me one day. 

"Thanks. You know, Kim, my real talent is in sales. I would really like the opportunity to become a server." 

"Alright, just keep doing what you're doing and we'll talk about it." 

*** 

My shifts were from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. I would finish around the same time as many of the other staff so I would sit on the patio with them. We would drink, flirt, and tell stories. I was not much of a drinker, but I did not want to miss out on this great networking opportunity. I would just listen mostly and see what types of things I could learn from them.  

One guy designed websites, another was a photographer, two guys were in med school, there was a writer, a personal trainer, and then there was me. I was not really sure what my thing was. I guess I was just a dude. I realized I didn't really have much going for me. The passion was there, but it was being wasted on doing these odd jobs I had. 

"So Trevor, how come you're not a server yet?" Kevin asked me. 

"I don't know. I talked to Kim and she said to give it time." 

"How much time does she expect you to wait? How long have you been here?" 

"It's been about two months." 

"Do you want to know why you're not a server yet?" Tyler interrupted. He paused to take a drag of his cigarette. 

"Enlighten me," I said. 

"It's because you're a good busser." He paused again to allow his big philosophical revelation to sink in. "If they promote you, then they will lose their all-star busser. Think about it, man." 

I thought about it for a moment and he was right. How am I going to make the transition from busser to server? Do I stop working hard? Do I threaten to quit? I gave it more thought when I got home and decided what I was going to do. 

The next day was a Saturday. I was scheduled for the lunch rush from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., then again for the dinner rush from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.  

I worked the lunch rush part of my shift then went in the back to wash up. On one of the back tables was a food and beverage manual. I looked around to make sure no one was watching me and then I tossed my apron over it. I looked around again then picked it up with my apron wrapped around it.  

On my way home, I passed by Mike's Athletics to check in with my other co-workers. 

"Yo, what's up, Trevor?" Jay said.  

"Nothing much, I'm just getting off work. How's it going with you?" 

"It's going well I suppose." 

"That's good." 

"So I talked to the owner, Mike, and he wants to renovate the store. We will have to close down for a while." 

"Really, for how long?" 

"Just for a couple of weeks. He wants us to start packing things up in boxes as soon as possible. Are you available tomorrow?" 

"I can be. I work lunch and dinner at the restaurant, but I can help you in between those times."  

"Okay, great. How about you come in tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.? You can leave to go to your other job, but then come back here after." 

"Okay." 

"I'll be here all day. I've scheduled a few other people to work as well. Mike and his wife will be coming down to help, and the new assistant manager will be here all day too." 

"Okay, no problem, I'll be here." 

The following morning I showed up bright and early. I met the new assistant manager, Damian. He seemed really friendly. 

"So here's the plan, Trevor," Jay said. "All this stuff has to go, so I just need you to take all the stuff off the racks and put it into boxes. Leave the hangers on, and make sure you label all the boxes. If you need anything or have any questions just let me know." 

"What are we going to do with all the shoes in the back?" 

"They're staying here. We'll cover them with large plastic sheets so they won't get dusty." 

"But if they're here, the construction workers might steal them."  

"One of us is going to be here at all times." 

"Oh, okay." 

"Yeah, we'll all take turns. So starting Monday, I need you to be in at 8:30 a.m. to let the construction crew in." 

"No problem. What about the rest of the week?" 

"I'll call you tomorrow and let you know."

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