Well, I can finally boast that all my kids are now employed. Haley started her new job as a hostess at Melo’s Pizza last week, and she is thrilled!

That makes three kids of mine who now work in the restaurant business, and believe me, the stories they bring home are amusing, to say the least. We are also finding out that the rudest and most obnoxious people love to go out to eat.

When my oldest daughter, Kaelin, worked at Olive Garden, she had the misfortune of serving a man who commented on her eye makeup.

“Looks like someone got a hold of the crayons today ...”

Did I mention he was alone? No wonder.

When she worked at Pyramid Brewing Company, a group of annoying drinkers who stayed for hours and ordered everything on the menu, purposely left her no tip, because on this particular day, it was “the end of the Mayan calendar,” so the world was coming to an end. Jerks!

She has also received Chuck E. Cheese tokens in place of real currency. Wow. Thankfully, she has also had great customers who are generous and kind, and make up for the losers she’s had to endure. It’s for this very reason that I over-tip.

I am over-the-top friendly with my servers, make sure I remember their names, and never, ever complain. Then I leave them a big fat tip, in hopes of making up for the bad customers they’ve surely encountered. I also over-tip pizza delivery guys. I love the look they get on their faces when they realize it’s not a mistake. One guy almost started crying! He told me he’d been having the worst night ever, and finally something good happened. It made my night. I truly appreciate these kids who are just trying to make a buck. They bring me my hot and cheesy pizza, out into the night, through the unpredictable streets of Antioch, in a timely manner and always with a smile. If one of my sons were a pizza delivery guy, I sure hope someone would give him a big tip.

I remember my first job (I know, that, in itself, is amazing). I was a papergirl. I woke up at 5 a.m., rode my bike a few streets away, to a large apartment complex where a bundle of newspapers awaited me in a dimly lit laundry room. Looking back, it was pretty creepy. I was only 14 and there I was, in a dingy laundry room, folding newspapers and loading them into my canvas bag. Anything could have happened! Thank God it didn’t. I would then deliver the papers all through the complex just as the sun was rising. Then I would ride my bike back home and get ready for school.

I actually made a lot of money, enough to buy a roundtrip ticket to Chicago to visit family. But those early mornings got old after a while. I moved on to my next job: Dandy Dogs, a hot dog shop on Main Street in Walnut Creek. It was a great job. Cheese dogs, chili dogs, tuna dogs — I was in hot dog heaven. But the joyride abruptly stopped when I got robbed at gunpoint!

It was a Sunday afternoon. I was getting ready to close, when a man with pantyhose stretched over his face entered the store brandishing a gun. He made me sit on the floor while he took all the money from the cash register. To this day, I vividly remember Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” playing on the radio, and the pungent smell of onions. I ran next door to Radio Shack. I was a mess. They called the police and then my mom. To no one’s surprise, I quit the next day. The police actually caught the bandit, and I had to testify against him in court. Justice was served ... in a bun!

My last job in high school was at Stinnett’s Pastry Shop. I sold cakes and cookies and delicious pastries. Let’s just say that, between the hot dog job and the bear claws at the pastry shop, I wasn’t exactly swatting the boys away with a stick, so I tried enticing them with cakes. Free cakes. I got fired. Oh well, it was probably for the best — especially for my waistline.

So, as I observe my kids navigating their way through their first jobs, it’s fun to watch them learning about others and about themselves, while making memories that will last a lifetime. First jobs are a lot like first loves: not perfect, but you never forget them.

Funny, you know what I could go for right now? A hot dog, with lots of onions.

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