While at an Arby’s restaurant recently I saw a poster on the window for their new ad campaign:
Start here, go anywhere
Now, this really struck a right cord with me. Tom and I met at the Post Jefferson Arbys on Long Island, in New York. It was my first real job I ever had—I don’t count babysitting-- and I believe it was Tom’s second one—will have to check with him about that to be certain but I think he had first worked at the Cutty Sarc-- an upscale restaurant reputedly mob run. Remind me to tell you about that one some day. We each received for our work minimum wages which at that time in the 80’s was a mere $3.25 or some such.
I was glad for it. I knew how to do nothing in the restaurant biz and needed training, so why would I expect more than that amount of money? No, I was pleased for what little I got, but it soon became quite apparent to me that although all of us who worked there—aside from the managers, we were mostly teenagers in either high school or college—we were not all equal.
Some were hard workers—Tom, me, Noreen and Melissa to name the few I recall especially conscientious-- and some—nearly everyone else—NOT so much. Yet we all got the same amount of money…that is to say, if we could keep our jobs. There was only so much laziness which would be tolerated, after all, so there was constant turnover of workers.
I worked my butt off to do things correctly—I need not tell you how I stressed over which sandwich got the Arby sauce or the horsey sauce or which got lettuce, which the cabbage and which got the cheese sauce! And it took me a while to learn how to make change at the register too, but once I did it was full steam ahead and in no time at all I got promoted to 3rd shift manager and with that came a pay raise.
Tom was so very impressive, on the other hand, in his total and complete knowledge and skills in doing pretty much anything required—from taking apart the shake machine and putting it back together after cleaning, to unloading the Supply trucks and organizing all that extra stuff to fit neatly in the back storage room, the freezer and the walk-in fridge, to fixing the roasting ovens when they acted up, draining the frying oil and replacing it and even on a pinch to making the food when every hand was needed up front— in summer when we ran a BOGO special on Arby regular sandwich and the place had lines of people a mile long. Seriously, the manager could not have done so well without Tom; she said as much and paid him an extra quarter!
Of course, he was too good and that was soon discovered by the General manager, Vinnie Rosa by name--who was watching Tom one particularly busy day going from task to task, being asked his opinion by the store manager and doing all this competently, swiftly and cheerfully.
He said in astonished tones, “Why the hell is that guy still here? He ought to be running his own store!”
Well, not too soon after that he was…they made Tom (Who was only 19 years old at that time) the assistant manager over in the Arby’s store in Rocky Point, closer to where he lived which was very nice indeed, but it was further from me. Ah well, can’t have everything, can you? He wasn’t there more than 3 months before he got the head manager job, too. Talk about swiftly moving up, huh?
He didn’t stay with Arby’s long, of course. He moved onto other restaurant jobs managing a Gullivers which was the precursor of Long John Silver fish restaurants and eventually he worked for the guy who started him in the Helium leak detection trade. After that he started his own Business,
Hi-Vac Specialists and is doing quite well, thank you very much!
So, when you see the sign which boldly states:
START HERE, GO ANYWHERE. Believe it. It can happen for anyone…that is to say if you WORK for it.
My Tommy’s living proof of it.