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Day 27: Who Takes Care of Me for Real

I have now been delivering pizzas for 6 weeks. Only 46 more weeks to go!

Vomit. Shudder. Groan. Whine. Complain.

That’s how I felt earlier in the week. Three shifts wasted. Toast. They were lame sauce. I brought home less than I needed to or expected after each one. Ugh.

I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I love this job. I wouldn’t trade my current pizza fun for anything… except a part-time job with the exact same shifts that pays twice as much (~$30/hour). Also, I would want it to be as much fun or funner.


But would that ever happen?

Even if it did, I’d have to change the subtitle of my blog to something less pizza centered. Plus, I wouldn’t get to find out with this flavor of clarity who takes care of me for real.

Take one of my flavorful regulars as an example.

They live in a squat little house in a line of squat little houses by the zoo. I have fond memories of the first delivery here.  The delivery was for a woman, but a man had answered the door. He had given me a wad of cash at least $10 more than the ticket was worth. When I told him he had given me a bit too much, he said, “Oh… I thought it was more. Oh well. Keep it.”

This time, darkness had crept up a little earlier. The porch light was on. A different car was in the driveway. My disappointment in tips was fresh. Most previous customers had given or expected exact change. LAME LAME LAME.

I looked to their cluttered porch with hope. I checked the receipt. It was the same name as the first time through.

I knocked on the door. I half expected the same guy to answer it as before. But no. Different guy. Less hair. Less teeth. More smile. He greeted me and invited me in.

There were several people gathered in the living room. The happy man made a lewd comment about something they were about to do. He asked me if I was ready to join in.

“Oh don’t give him grief,” said a young guy who had just entered the room.

Happy guy assured me that he was just messing around. I’m glad he said that. I didn’t know how to respond to his previous comment.

A woman came from the back of the house and shouted, “Did someone rob a homeless man? Why is there a suitcase in the back full of dirty clothes?”

I handed the pizzas over and my host passed me the cash. It was an $8 tip.

“That’s all for you. We’ll give you grief, but we’ve got your back, you know that,” he said.

I thanked him and left the home.

As I sat in my car, I started to think. I chewed on my recent change in attitude. I had just got an $8 tip. I hadn’t gotten a tip that good in over a week. But where was my gratitude? Where was the exhilaration?

Three weeks ago, my attitude was different. How?

Tips were tips. If I got them, I got them. If I didn’t, oh well. I got money to throw at my debt no matter what. There was no disappointment. Zero-tip customers were the same as high rollers. I was more grateful.

What was I feeling now? Disappointment? Frustration? Come on, people. Read between the lines. I quasi-opened this post with a comment about trading this job for another one. That is Grass-Is-Greener mentality!

I feel like it comes back to Happy Man’s comments.

“We’ll give you grief, but we’ll take care of you, you know that.”

They’ll take care of me. Customers will take care of me.

He was right. They will. If I let them. And henceforth, my satisfaction would be a rollercoaster instead of a straight shot.

I went through a few shifts with lower-than-desired returns. That’s true. Then, all of a sudden, I handed my care over to people I didn’t know. My pay – and my perspective of it – now depended on strangers. Que fastidioso.

I think that’s wrong. I’ve decided my care won’t belong to these people. My attitude won’t become a splattitude because people won’t tip. You have to be diligent. You have to anticipate and serve. You have to learn. You have to improve. You have to under promise and over deliver. You have to make life easier for others, not the other way around.

After all:

Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. (1 Cor. 10:24)

These 52 weeks of hydrogenated vegetable oil, floor grease and dishes – a.k.a. blood, sweat and tears – are not about cash. They’re about what cash represents. They’re about lessons deeper than what or what not to say to customers or coworkers. Those are the lessons I want to learn.

Those are the lessons taught by He who takes care of me for real.



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