The airport has been socked in for two days thanks to the winter storm, Jonas charging up the east coast. Here's the thing I've learned...the first day travelers are okay with it. They drink a lot and get their cheer on. The second day, heading toward the third begin to blame anyone they come in contact with.
Lucky for me, was working the first day and made more money than I ever have on one shift and's saying a lot considering have been serving for over thirty six years. Unfortunate for me, also worked the second day and hangovers in a foreign country seem to tend to be not too pretty.
Don't get me wrong. For the most part everyone was really nice albeit stressed, tired with some still dressed in shorts and flip flops on return trips from exotic warm locations only to be stranded in sub freezing temps on a connecting flight home.
I remember my first day working there, they made me work at the host stand. My manager (a wonderful mentor) who was from Bosnia told me to speak to everyone who came by and not be offended if some didn't respond, was just that way with some foreign cultures.
After almost two years I've kind of gotten used to that...total the opposite way I was raised in the south. I'll even sometimes introduce myself as Kelly (in my southern accent) and some will call me Ellen or Helen throughout the entire meal. I've been called worse so doesn't bother me the slightest bit.
Yes, I know I sound like a hick, I've heard myself recorded. It's quite embarrassing.
Ironically enough, my own mother's first name was Minnie. She hated and refused to go by it using her middle name, Ann instead.
Side note: Minnie Pearl invented the whole tag still on a cap thing way before these guys did.
So anyway...back to my story.
I know peeps and passengers were all pretty irritated, especially international travelers stuck in Atlanta, trying to get to another continent instead of another state.
I know they were all weary and tired but so was I after waiting on them for two days straight. Sometimes I had to simply step out back into the hallway behind the restaurant, off limits to passengers and take a moment to remind myself how well I was being compensated and who was actually doing the compensating.
I got my W-2 forms in the mail this past week.
I'm an almost fifty six year old woman with just two years of college. I lost a job I'd held for almost thirteen years making pretty good money when my husband had been out of work for over a year and were already struggling. I quickly found another job for a little less money with a family owned restaurant but that family took care of my family for almost four years. They loaned me money when we needed it and were always wonderful to me.
Then thanks to another good friend, got the opportunity of a lifetime for a server.
Working (and parking) at the world's busiest airport is at best semi controlled insanity but allowed me to immediately double and after almost two years almost triple my income.
I'm a hard core server and been one from the late seventies. (that would be the 1970's)
I know the drill and what it takes, but especially now after joining the big league realize it's not just a job...it's my profession.
It's all about the struggle and all about being strong. I'm getting older, that's a true fact... but feel stronger than ever and wouldn't be here without not only surviving but learning from them.
I'm thinking this crazy ole gal is the luckiest idiot who ever hit the "Now I Get It" lottery!
Til next time...COTTON