First, I cannot say thank you enough for all of your kind and loving words that so many of you gave yesterday in response to Discipline Training Part 1. I am so glad to share my story if it helps someone but man does it stir up so many feelings! I probably cried no less than 25 times yesterday. I cried as I wrote the post and I cried each time I read your sweet comments and messages!
Ok, Part 2. Well, Part 1 of Part 2 haha. As I was reminiscing last night, I realized that the last 10 of the 30 years was a LONG long story. And also, I have to begin it in the second 10! So here, let me just throw the whole “3 10s” idea out the window and pick up where I left off yesterday. Also, I realized there is no way I can pack all of the events that occurred into these blog posts. So I am just going to discuss the most important events that contributed to what I call my “discipline training”.
Discipline Training Part 2 (Part 1) – Waffle House
If you didn’t catch Discipline Training Part 1, read it here!
So we left off with me leaving home and leaving high school to start my life in the real world. Mind you, I had no car and no money. I wasn’t allowed to drive the car that my dad got me anymore after I was caught skipping school, plus it was broken down anyway due to my fabulous driving skills at the age of 16. When I left home, I moved into this girl’s apartment who I knew didn’t really want me there but it was a place to go so there I went. Next, I needed a job and one that paid more than the $5.25 an hour I was making at Great Clips. I figured my best bet was to get a job as a server to make tips, but I was 16 and at that time you couldn’t serve alcohol until you were 18. Waffle House didn’t serve any alcohol. And I loved cheesy eggs! So I filled out an application. If you are reading this, and you need a job, Waffle House will hire you. If you have a pulse, Waffle House will hire you. I had no interview, I just got the job and was told to show up for training on Monday. I had no idea what I was in for. The most difficult job, yet the most important to my journey.
I learned life at Waffle House.
At this point, I have worked many crazy places in my life but Waffle House is hands down the craziest. The first week I remember thinking it would work. I was put on night shift since I was new which was hard because I wasn’t used to staying up all night nor being on my feet for ten hours. Ugh, my feet! And it was weird waiting on the public. Some people were really nice….. and a lot of times too nice. But then some were just mean and rude. But I remember being so excited that I made $50 in one night. That was more than I made in a whole week at Great Clips! So that first week, I waited on my tables, made my money, sweetly said goodbye to the first shift waitresses in the morning, and went home. After a full week of this, one morning I grabbed my things to head home and one of the first shift waitresses stopped me and proceeded to rip me a new one……
See, I had been serving the customers, getting my tips, and going home. I figured they hired someone else to do the dishes, sweep the floors, clean the windows, clean the bathrooms, restock things, and everything else. Surely that was not my job.
Oh yes it was my job. And I had not been doing it. I was humiliated when the first shift waitress yelled at me in front of everyone and also enlightened to the fact that this job was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I had to wait on these tables AND clean the tables AND clean the dishes AND a whole bunch of other things! This job was NOT for me. So I went home, and didn’t come back to work the next day and definitely planned on never returning again. The next day my boss Samantha called the apartment probably 50 times and then SHOWED UP at the apartment to take me to work! I was shocked! I couldn’t believe she came to the apartment to get me! I didn’t answer the phone, how did she even know I was home? But I reluctantly got my stuff and went to work with her and suffered through the next several weeks as I painstakingly subjected myself to the horror that was Waffle House waitressing. No one cared that I was pretty, no cared about my feelings, no cared if I was tired or not in the mood to work. They didn’t even care when I lied and said I was sick! I had to work. And I worked there every night kicking and screaming (literally). I hated every. single. minute.
But I am so thankful for Waffle House.
First of all, if you can serve at Waffle House, every other place you wait tables will seem like a breeze. And yes, I have waited tables many places since. But second, no other job would have put up with my crap the way Waffle House did. I had ZERO work ethic. No one else would have kept me as an employee. I had the absolute worst attitude. I whined constantly. I was the worst the employee they had by far. As I type this, I am having so many flashbacks of a super packed restaurant with overwhelmed me just sitting at the low counter smoking a cigarette because I couldn’t take it anymore. Have you ever had slow service at a restaurant? Makes you mad right? Imagine seeing your server sitting and smoking at the table next to you while you continued to wait for your food! Another time (of many times) overwhelmed me decided she had had enough of the stupid customers and in screaming frustration slammed her way to the back room wear she threw the biggest fit that quieted everyone in the restaurant. When I was done with my fit, I returned to an empty store. 😦 I was the biggest baby!
Anyway, unfortunately, me being a baby was just the first of a multitude of humiliating endeavors that was my life at the Waffle. This is a book in itself. But I wish this for all of you! That YOU could humiliate yourself so many times that it seizes bother anymore haha! I’m serious! It’s one of the biggest blessings that one could ever have happen to them!
Then about 6 months in, I met another Waffle House employee named Terri. Terri was and is the definition of “old soul”. I was 17 and she was 19 but she had already been married for 6 months and was one of those people who is just motherly by nature. She was nothing short of a gift from God in my life back then and I still will never forget what she did for me as long as I live. We became friends and she took me under her wing. She had a car and gave me a ride home everyday. This was nice because up until then I was just depending on rides from various people and when no one could take me home I had to sleep at work 😦 ……. and then they would make me work! Haha! So many times on this blog I have mentioned my favorite quote, “Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are.” Terri taught me this. She helped me through the times when I would get overwhelmed and freak out in the rushes, she showed me how to get everything done efficiently so that I wasn’t running around like a maniac, and she even helped me to set up a bank account and save my money for a car! My life was so much easier with a car! So many possibilities! Haha!
But Terri was not afraid to let me have it. I needed this. She always called me out when I was being a baby (this was still often). I didn’t like hearing it but I respected her so I did listen to what she would tell me most of the time. She is such a wonderful person for helping me to at least take hold of the ropes of life. I definitely didn’t have control of the horse but at least I was finally holding the ropes!
As time when on, Terri and I worked together a lot and became best friends. Then she became a manager and I pretty much followed her around and worked in every store she managed. Thanks to her, I became a pretty great waitress and got to be on first shift which is the fastest and best shift at Waffle House. My original plan of working at Waffle House for 6 months turned into 6 years! In this time, I would work other jobs along with it. Sometimes three jobs at a time! Waffle House and Terri had taken me from the whiny girl with the short temper and no work ethic to handling the crazy Waffle shifts and working some side jobs as well and being kind happy about it. I had a long way to go, but this experience was definitely a gift from God to help me make my way in the world.
It felt good to work hard.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Part 2 where things take a wrong turn and misery teaches me many lessons.
To be continued!