I am not sure if I was excited, but at least it was a step in a positive direction. It was my first job, a bus boy at Rutt’s Hut, which is a famous hot dog place and restaurant in Northern New Jersey. The boss was reluctant to give me the position at first. He told me I would start each day mopping out the bathrooms. I turned to look at these small rest rooms and noticed how close they were to a very busy bar area. I said, “Sure, no problem.” (gulp), and at that moment I was given the job.
The first person I met was the other bus boy that quickly informed me that mopping the bathroom was not on his job description. What a tough way to begin, lower than the bottom rung on the ladder, or so I thought.
This was a busy restaurant with high tension to turn over tables so the waitresses were constantly moving which meant so were the bus boys! It was easy to see the pecking order: Bosses, waitresses, rodents that are not visible to the public, bus boys – in that order!
Many nights it was hard to tell if mopping the bathrooms was the high moment of my night or maybe it was a customer yelling at me for not cleaning the table well enough. That comment was of course after a burp that came over me like a storm cloud.
The reality of this experience is it was the best first job I could have ever asked for! However, that fact has only dawned on me recently, some 40 years later.
Yes, I was asked to work hard and do some uncomfortable things, but I was almost always thanked and at the end of the night I could literally have eaten every item on the menu. That was one thing the bosses made sure of.
The waitresses were really an interesting group of women, most working to pay their monthly bills, hoping to make enough in tips to do so. They worked hard and appreciated Jay (the other bus boy) and myself every night. They shared a portion of their tips and always gave on the high side of what was expected.
As for Jay, he may be the best and most loyal work partner I ever had. Although he did not clean the bathroom, he made sure he picked up the slack whenever possible and never complained. When a woman lost her ring and it was thought to be in the trash pile, it was Jay who went to look through the very undesirable pile.
Once again I credit my canine loves for helping me see this as a great experience. Dogs live in each moment but they appreciate each moment and they work effectively with others, without a need to compare.
Most important, no matter what happens, a dog will see the best side of everything, especially being rewarded and of course, eating!