8 – Footprints Along Side

I needed to write about two of my biggest influences that still resonate within me today. If I could be half the role models these two were I would be very grateful that they inspired me to become that role model. Some people leave footprints in your life by walking all over you. Some leave footprints walking beside you…

“Hurry up you retard, you can go faster than that!” I heard a voice coming from behind me, so I turned around. “Fuck off Harry!” We both looked at each other and started to laugh. It was my first day back at Hungry Jacks (HJs) after moving back home from Hamilton Victoria. To come back to a place when you thought you had left it, can be nerve-racking. Wondering what people would think because you never made it outside Port Augusta. People would go and try to live away from Port, however it seemed they would always came back. Only a small percentage left and never returned. I wanted to be included in the minority. However right at that moment I back home and it somewhat felt good to be back in my safe place.

About thirty minutes into the shift, I was told that Uncle in-law/boss was leaving and we are getting a new restaurant manager that following day. Everyone was a little apprehensive to this decision. We were all set in the way we did things and were anxious that this manager would come in and ruin things. Personally, it didn’t really faze me, I had been gone for a year and some things had changed anyway. The only thing I was questioning was that, we weren’t getting just one manager but two. Oh and the fact that they are starting the next day.

Before starting back at work, I had already settled living with the older sister. By this time the memories of the trauma she caused me as a kid, seemed to be buried somewhere in the back of my mind. Sure she was still bossy and thought she was a queen. However, I was now old enough and big enough to tell her where to go. We ended up getting along quite well at this stage and I got to do whatever I wanted. I really loved he fact that I was an uncle and helping out with by this time two nephews.

At the age of eighteen my independence grew from getting my first job, to having my licence and a car. Also now being eighteen was able to now buy my own cigarettes and alcohol, and go out to the pub at any opportunity, where I would get written off to the point of not remembering what I did the next day. I was smoking marijuana everyday from the moment I woke up to the time I went to sleep. I became so immune to weed that at points it felt I couldn’t function without it. The next day was no different.

I started my shift at HJs on an opening shift. We had extra staff on to help get the place perfect before the new managers arrived. Everyone was running around like headless chickens, just to give a good impression. I was nervous I had no idea what to expect, these people were from Adelaide and they’re coming here. Either they were going to eat us alive, or Port Augusta would get to them first.

I was on the prep bench slicing tomatoes when a heard a little commotion coming from the staff entry door. I looked through the gap of the burger bench and saw two people walk in. All I could see was a skirt and a pair of slacks. We werent told much about these new managers, and for some reason we all thought it would be two guys coming, no one was expecting a woman. After a little while they started going around introducing themselves to everyone individually. The guy approached me by himself and shook my hand. “Hi Phil, I’m Karl the new Assistant Manager.” Assistant?? “Nice to meet you, I have heard lots about you and looking forward to working with you and helping you to progress.” I know they were just words, however compare to Uncle/boss who said “you’re hired you start in two weeks.” To me that was a chuck in the deep end and a good luck. But Karl’s words translated to me as: he seemed genuinely happy to have met me, him hearing about me means he has sourced out who I was. He seemed optimistic that working with me will be a good experience. Also, for him to say ‘progress?’ the man has met me for five minutes and could see potential that I could get promotions if I were to work hard with his help.

The people who somewhat changed my life. Leanne and Karl and their family.

The lady then approached, she didn’t give a big spill like Karl did. “Hello I’m Leanne the new restaurant manager looking forward to working with you.” Restaurant Manager?? Everyone thought that the fact a man and a woman walked in together, that the man would be Restaurant Manager and the lady Assistant. I know that sounds very sexist, however that was the small-minded people that we were in port Augusta at that time. The thing that threw us all off was however, that Leanne and Karl were in fact husband and wife.

That first day they arrived, I never thought that the next two years with these people would teach me incredible lessons. Not just helping me to become an Assistant Manager, but about life itself. I have so much respect for these people even today. They never made you feel like your nothing, even if we were in the wrong. They allowed us to make mistakes because that’s how we learnt and was able to reflect on it and make things better. There are many things I have taken away from them and still use in my everyday life. They taught me how to hold myself proudly, how to speak to people respectfully, how to not be taken like a fool, and how to contribute to society but still being your own person. Leanne and Karl became more than just my bosses; they became apart of me in some weird freaky way. It’s amazing how some people leave footprints in your life by walking all over you, but even more amazing when people leave footprints in your life by walking it with you. I don’t think they actually know what sort of impact those two years made for me. Although there were many things after that I have done and become I wasn’t proud of. I am quite sure I’m not the only one who had thought about those two being genuinely inspiring human beings.

Me becoming Manager at Hjs

Leanne and Karl helped me progress to Manager but taught me a hell of a lot more.

Leanne and Karl were new to Port Augusta, so they invited a couple of us from work over for Christmas lunch one year. I was back living with mum at this stage. My good mate at the time and my older sister decided to hook up and became a couple, so I was asked to move back with Mum. I asked mum if its ok if I went to the bosses house for lunch and be back for dinner. Because of Terrie and her new boyfriend will be there along with my nephew’s; Mum said it would be fine as long as I’m back for dinner. So things were sweet and everybody was happy. Until Christmas day…

Phil 🙂

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6 thoughts on “8 – Footprints Along Side

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  1. I think Leanne and Karl left footprints on a lot of lives. I know that without their kindness I wouldn’t have had the support I did when I moved to Adelaide for University. To this day, I am thankful xxx

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