Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas Co Workers

So we had our  company Christmas party tonight. I am one of the senior servers so  took charge of the present for the bosses. I collected money to give them so they could do what they wanted with it.
I hate to waste money on something they don't want so we (I) decided to  just give them back what  they give us...a paycheck. I had a letter all typed up to read and had rehearsed it over and over. When I read it got so emotional that I sounded like an idiot. Sometimes younger employees just don't get it so I made it something I hoped  they could all understand This is a family owned business. They have invested  their entire lives for us to be  able to make a buck. Yes they are crazy but you have to be to own a restaurant. I collected money  from the other servers and bought a really nice card to put it in. My  real reason was to let the younger peeps working there to know how lucky they are to work for a family instead of a corporate giant. I got so choked up reading it I had to stop twice for a sip of water. Decided  to include the letter I so poorly read. Len is the owner, his wife is Barb and their son is Leon.

" So another year has passed and here we are again. There have been lots of changes this past year but change is what keeps life interesting.

We have a lot of new people at our party tonight so I'll bring them up to date. I've known the Guillaumes for almost seventeen years. Believe it or not, Leon and I used to be servers together when we first met. Yes... LEON was a server. His mother worked across the street from us at Pascal's and used to stop in to pick up food to go and that's how we  first met. I didn't meet Dr. Evil (Len) until he became a manager for the steakhouse chain I worked for.

After a few years Barb and Len (notice which order I named them in and if you're SMART will always remember to do the same) decided to open their own restaurant at Thomas Crossroads. Leon went to work with them as well and the Mama's Family was born.

I stayed working at  the steakhouse for almost twelve years until they fired me for giving my daughter a cup of ice cream for free. My husband had been out of work for over a year and I was supporting the entire family on a server's salary. I was completely devastated and more depressed than I had ever been.

Actually it was Leon who first called me and told me to come see Barb about working for them. It took me over a week of wallowing in my pity before I went to see Barb. When I walked in the door she was perched in her chair by  the men's restroom with a lap full of receipts. The first thing she said was "Where have you been, I've been looking for you." I told her I had been looking for myself too.

They hired me on the spot. It was a horrible time in my family's life. I had to file for food stamps and put my kids on medicare. We almost lost our house. For the first two years I worked almost every shift Mama Lucia's was open, often times all of them.

Without the Guillaumes, we would have gone under. Instead they helped us survive. I can't tell  you how many times Barb bailed me out when our utilities were scheduled to be cut off.

Fast forward...YES they are (as my daughter says) CRAY CRAY, most definitely. I learned that on my first day here. What I also learned was if you work hard and give it your all, they'll take care of you.

Back to the Cray Cray part. Barb is about as tech savvy as Wilma Flintsone. She knows what the lap top in the office is but for some unknown reason calls the P/C "The Master." I've been here almost four years and have never figured that one out. One time Len asked me to respond to an email for him, he was on the line cooking. I asked Barb if she could bring up the email on the lap top and she said sure. Fifteen minutes later I walked by  the office door and asked if she had email open?  Her reply was "No, but I'm getting closer."

Barb hates modern technology. I  tend to agree with her at  times.

Len is the true epitome of a Mad Italian.  He can be meek and mild one minute  then explode in the next instant. I told him one time that we were going to buy him a tee shirt that read on the front: FIVE... FOUR...THREE... TWO... ONE !!  I remember when a friend of mine used to work here and on one of her first days on the floor walked in the door and asked Len how he was? He didn't skip a beat, kept right on doing what he was doing and simply said "Well, I'm still married to Barb."

For all their fighting, they still love each other. Marriage is a lot of work and too many people obviously don't listen to the vows they take and make.

This family, our bosses, our avenue of financial survival and security work harder than any one of us in this room ever has, I can almost bet you. Len is eight years older than I am and has worked almost ninety hours a week for over six years, 360 days of the year. Barb, who is ten years older than me (you're welcome, Barb) is here every day as well except when Len can convince or make her mad enough to take a shift off.

I even guarantee you Leon works well over forty hours a week and he's the young buck of the cray cray family.

I'll admit it can be challenging at times working here. I'll admit sometimes you can get discouraged or feel unappreciated. I've been a server for over thirty five years and have felt  that way at every job I've had. Here's the huge difference. We  don't work for a huge corporation that couldn't care less. We work for a family who has poured all their money, heart and soul into a venue that allows us all to survive.

Heck yeah , they're crazy but I'm a big fan of crazy. It beats being predictable and dull.

For all this family has done for every ONE of us standing in this room, drinking their booze, cashing their paychecks or receiving a yearly bonus, WE sincerely thank YOU.

Accept this small token of appreciation from us and do whatever you want with it. Fix something broken, treat yourselves to something you want or just put it in the bank. Just know that it is heart felt.

I think Dr. Seuss may have put it best:

    'I love my job. I love the pay!
    I love it more and more each day.
    I love my boss, he is the best!
    I love his boss (that would be  Barb) and all the rest.'

Thanks for allowing us to be a paid part of your dysfunctional yet hardworking family."

It was an awesome party and feel lucky to be a part of the team. It's the only Christmas party I've gone to this year but is one I would never miss. Even came home with three boxes of leftovers and three hundred dollars in hard cold cash. Support small business...GO AMERICA!

Merry Christmas!

Til next time...COTTON


Robert Harris said...

Merry Christmas, anytime you want to trade jobs.. ( HA! ) we work about the same hours and I suspect approximately the same pay, but I sure don't get appreciate it like that.... But hey, before I go to bed every night I think the Lord for all my blessings and I get up and do it all again next day !!

kelly cotton said...

Keep fighting the good fight, my friend. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!