My son, Dorian, will return to college in another month. And when he does, I’m planning to cry my eyes out. This is not “empty-nester” syndrome. I will be losing my best worker at Frank’s Kitchen.
Replacing him will be expensive, if not impossible. As a member of the family in this family-owned, mom-and-pop restaurant, Dorian has been a volunteer. He opted to help us out rather than take a real, paying job this summer with another employer. He has come to work with a positive attitude, reassuring his parents whenever they started wringing their hands with worry about the restaurant’s future.
He’s run deliveries in the rain. He’s endured the afternoon sun walking for blocks and putting menu fliers on people’s porches. He’s swept, mopped, chopped and washed more dishes in two months than he has his entire life. He’s been great with customers, talking the Far Easteners into staying for a cheeseburger, convincing hung-over customers a Crested Butte egg sandwich would ease their pain. He taught me how to make milkshakes and assisted Frank in filling orders. He’s learning how to cook burgers and the Puerto Rican steak sandwich.
Dorian has helped us create criteria for future employees: positive attitude, a sense of hospitality, good customer relations, initiative and a willingness to work hard. And we know now as employers, we’ll need to offer good training, the right tools, clear instruction, definitive expectations and encouragement.
Dorian turns 19 years old today. I always believed the goal of a parent is to work yourself out of your job. A child is born needing you for his survival _ food, clothing, shelter, etc. You know you’ve been a successful parent when your child is an adult and they don’t really need you for anything anymore. I look forward to that day when Dorian is living on his own, and has his own career. It never occurred to me that there might come a day when I would need him more than he needs me.
Happy Birthday, Dorian.