Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Crazy House

I'm approaching my two year anniversary working at The Crazy House aka the world's busiest airport.

My daughter works there now too, has since last Spring and thoroughly enjoy working with her. My oldest son worked with me there for a while and enjoyed working with him just the same. One of my managers jokingly said one day, "How awesome would it be to have a restaurant totally staffed with Cottons!"

If there's one thing we Cottons know how to do, is work hard and's nice when someone pays your family such a huge compliment.

My daughter's paying her own way through school now,  junior year and totally supports herself with very little financial help from me. It's a blessing.

I can say after almost two years working in an airport which had well over 100,000,000 passengers travel through in less than a year that wouldn't work anywhere else in it except the place I landed. (small pun)

I've always been a server, starting my career in 1979. For the first several years was just a means to get by. I wasn't all that great at it at first and pretty unreliable (hence getting fired from my first job) but as the years went on discovered I wasn't just "Waiting tables" but honing skills in my chosen profession of what I consider Sales and Marketing.

I've had some great managers and bosses over the years, all wonderful mentors along the way. I slowly but steadily climbed the serving ladder. With lots of hard work, determination, dedication (and some pure stinkin' luck) finally landed the job of a lifetime.

I took a leap of faith never thought I was capable of making. I was a server doing pretty okay  in a small local family owned restaurant for a family who treated me wonderfully after being dismissed from a large chain restaurant who totally dumped on me, and went from this...

to this...

I'm an almost fifty six year old woman who chose over thirty six years ago to be "a waitress".

I  never thought or dreamed in a million years that a waitress could make a seventy thousand dollar salary with full benefits, paid vacation, paid sick leave and have a 401K package but now I do.

Don't get me wrong, I constantly and consistently work my butt off and's a logistical nightmare traveling to and from the job. I tip out sometimes thirty or forty bucks in a shift to support staff but is exactly what they and assist me in making that salary. Parking is ridiculous, twelve dollars a day but is just five minutes from my vehicle to the security checkpoint and one minute later am clocking in at the restaurant.

I will have to say out of my two years working there have only had two bad days and that's pretty good odds, especially in the serving world.

We work hard for our money and if don't work hard certainly don't make it. (as it should be)

On top of that have met people from all over the globe. I've met and waited on famous people and met some of the most interesting and inspiring people I'd never meet except  working in the only five star restaurant in the world's busiest airport. It's not like I'm gonna run into Trent Lott, John Schuerholz, Shaq or Ang Lee in Red Lobster.

It's really the un famous peeps I like meeting the most.

Case in point.

Just the other night walked by a man sitting alone who I wasn't even waiting on. He flagged me down and said "Hey!! How are you, remember me?"

Of course did the same thing you do when pushing a cart through the grocery store and someone obviously knows you but have no clue who they are.

I smiled and enthusiastically said "Oh my goodness! How have you been?!"

Then he said "Remember when you waited on me when my wife and I sat out there? (gesturing toward the patio tables) I said you were the best server I'd ever had and wasn't one to hand out compliments lightly."

It was like a light bulb suddenly came on.

Believe it or not the little hamster in my empty head started running on that wheel again and somehow came back with "Yes! Don't you sell Veterinary supplies?"

He smiled and nodded.

Dang,  got it right! (thank you lil' hamster)

I'd waited on them several months ago on their way to Poland to adopt five siblings from an orphanage. They already had five kids of their own together but giving five more sibs freedom from spending their entire youth in an orphanage then pushed out into a world unloved, to survive.

Talk about a Brady Bunch.

 I asked if he had any pictures? He said had been a long process and were finally to the stage where they had to stay in Poland, in an apartment with the five sibs to bond and get acclimated with each other. He had been there for two weeks but came back to check on his own five, being taken care of by a close (somewhat) Au Pair.

He patted the seat next to him and I sat down for him to show me videos of the five in Poland. Ages ranging from five to twelve. Their five bio kids range from six to fourteen.

There was a video of his wife driving them all in a van to go eat. Those kids looked incredibly happy, and so did their new mom. I asked if they spoke English and he shook his head, then said communication was the least of their problems. He showed me pictures of the boys kicking around a soccer ball in the apartment and another video of the youngest girl singing at the top of her lungs and looking ecstatic.
"She only has one volume...loud" he said, smiling from ear to ear.

There are over 80,000 orphans in Poland in 350 orphanages, soon five less thanks to this wonderful couple who luckily have the money and means to give them an excellent life here in what I consider the greatest country in the free world.

The two sets of soon to be ten sibs still haven't met but the man told me they skype and facetime every single day and are looking forward to meeting face to face on American soil.

It warms my heart to know these kids are coming to America and be raised, loved and given every opportunity to succeed.

I made him promise and one day bring the entire family in so I could meet them all. He assured me whenever they took a vacation and traveled through Atlanta would come in to eat and ask for me.

Adopt: To take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's own child.

What an absolutely marvelous thing to do if you can, and this couple is!

It's a fact, children are our future.

It could be in Africa or Poland or even in our own backyard. It's up to us to save our future.

I think the only  people I've been more impressed with meeting are soldiers who frequently come in to eat on their way (sometimes back) to Dubai and continuing to Afghanistan and other hot beds of hostility.

Case in point,  waited on two young men just tonight doing exactly that...going back. I told them to keep their heads down low and would have prayers for them going high.

Compared to all these people I'm a simpleton, a nothing but thanks to them the world will be a better place for not only me but you.

Til next time... COTTON

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