Friday, August 30, 2013

A Boy and the Diner

It was a typical Friday night family outing at a small family owned diner. After placing their food order the parents were talking as 8 year old Timmy was watching the various activities you typically find in such a setting. Timmy's father, Tim, felt someone tugging at his shirt and looked to find his son looking at him quizzically. Timmy pointed to a boy his age cleaning off a table and asked, “Why is that girl doing that?”

Tim knew some details about the diner and replied, “That's the owner’s daughter and she helps out after school.” He then turned his attention back to his wife, thinking little about the question.

A moment later he felt the tugging once more and turned to see the same quizzical look on his son's face. Timmy asked, “Does that girl get paid? Is it like a real job?”

Tim knew that his son would never understand child labor laws and decided on the simple answer, “I guess you could call it a job and I think they would pay her something.” At that moment Timmy excused himself from the table. Dad assumed it was for a bathroom break.

Ten minutes later his son returned. A moment later the diner owner walked over to the table and asked, “Are you Timmy's parents?”

The couple nodded and the man about Tim's age with a touch of gray in his hair asked, “Could I speak with one or both of you for a moment?”

The couple gave each other the look wondering what trouble their son had gotten into. Tim stood from the table, followed the owner, and began to think of different ways to apologize for whatever it was that Timmy had done. He mentally counted the cash in his pocket in case there was physical damage.

Once they were out of Timmy’s view the man smiled and said, “I'm Paul Taylor, the owner of the diner. A few minutes ago your son approached me and asked for a job. I was caught a little off guard and wasn't sure how to reply. This was so unusual I couldn't say no, but couldn't legally say yes either.”

Tim sighed in relief while beaming with pride at his son. He knew at that moment he and his wife were doing something right. The father said, “Thank you so much for telling me this. I'll do my best to explain to him why he can't work—how it's against the law.”

Paul said, “This is your decision in the end, but I am so awed by what your son did I want to give him a job, but I can't legally pay him.”

The beaming father said, “If you want to allow him to work a few hours on weekends, I'll be glad to pay him. This could be a wonderful learning experience for Timmy.”

From that day on Timmy began work in the diner on Saturdays. He started out sweeping the floor and helping the owner's daughter clear tables. Timmy and the owner's daughter became best friends. By the time they were twelve both were experts on the cash register and knew the menu perfectly. When Timmy was old enough to legally work he was put on the payroll. By then he had become a part of the family, as well as capable of doing any job in the diner.

After graduating High School Timmy took some business classes at the community college, but had little time to go for a degree. This was because he had two big events approaching. One was his impending wedding with Paul's daughter, Amanda. The other was business related.
After the first year of work Timmy began depositing most of his earnings in a bank account. Today that money would go toward opening a diner with his new wife. They would go on to open a national chain of diners based on the one in which he had worked most of his life.

This was based on a scenario presented by Glenn Beck which inspired me to write this short story. We know because of labor laws even this scenario is unlikely, while in our past this was a common practice. Imagine if the striking fast food workers saw the world through Timmy's eyes.Copyright

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