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Craig had never been this nice to me before. I know that a friendly attitude always increases work morale, but that was never the case with Craig. A normal day with him included nothing but criticism laced with his own brand of humor. One recurring joke was that after the customer would leave the store, Craig would tell me that he’s docking my pay by 50 percent for how poorly I did. This was followed by his chuckle that always reminded of the sound made by a vibrating massage chair. But for some reason, that never happened today. As soon as I walked in the door he handed me a freshly brewed hazelnut coffee with cream. It was crazy enough he would buy me a coffee, but even crazier that he knew how I liked it.
Since day one of me working at Cow Tipper Doughnuts, Craig never paid any attention to me when I’m not working. In fact, the only time when he wasn’t watching me tend to the customers was when I was on my break, where he would just go back into his office. I always imagined him doing nothing but writing more corny jokes that only he would laugh at. The only thing that pissed me off more than his smug humor was that I was the only one of his employees that ever received the brunt of it. It drove me crazy that my slacker co-workers were not nearly as criticized as much I was on a daily basis. As I tell you my story of that extremely odd day, you’ll understand my confusion and frustration.
It was 8:30 in the morning, which is when we always deal with our busiest crowd. To add to the chaos, it was the middle of winter, which makes the customers even more obnoxious. When a coffee doesn’t only offer you energy, but keeps you warm, I can’t really blame them. So as I was handing a woman her cappuccino and apple fritter, Craig called me over to his office. I was able to get Chuck to cover for me at the counter as I went over to the back.
When I entered Craig’s office, I was amazed at the amount of garbage all around the room. One thing that I did notice was that no piece of trash had the Cow Tipper Doughnuts logo on it. I must have found over a dozen fast food logos on discarded bags and napkins.
“Anything wrong?” I asked him. “I can’t leave Chuck out there to handle that crowd all by himself.”
“You know what I always noticed about you Mitch?” he asked in his signature judging tone. “You always seem to let the customers turn you into a total Randy-man”
I forgot to mention that Craig always has a habit of making up his own vocabulary of words to amuse himself. I never asked what they meant, but then again, I never wanted to talk to Craig in general.
“Look man,” I said. “I’d be happy to do this another time but we’re really swamped out there. I can’t just…”
“You see!” he interrupted. “That’s exactly what I’m talking about dude; you’re becoming a total drone! I was just wondering if you want to chill back here and play some Xbox with me.”
No matter how much I did at this place, Craig always thought I was never doing enough. Nothing I did would ever please him, so to hear him offer an early break was right out of left field. Under normal circumstances I would never accept his offer, but I could never turn down a game of Call of Duty. Plus, Chuck never paid me back for a burger I bought him last week, so for him to take on that crowd of customers for me would be his way of paying me back.
After a half hour of mind-numbing video games, we proceeded out of his office to check on Chuck.
“How was the crowd Chuck?” I asked him.
“I’m taking my break…” he said in an incredibly annoyed voice. He had that unmistakable look on his face where you can tell that the minute he’s alone, he’s going to scream at the top of his lungs.
“Don’t mind him man.” Craig reassured. “He could never figure out that hard work builds character.” I had to roll my eyes because he says that to me every other day of the week. “You know, I feel like I’ve been working you too hard these past few weeks. You can have today off if you want man.” Now I know I was losing my mind, either that or Craig was losing his.
“Look Craig,” I said to him. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate how cool you’re being, but the bills have to be paid somehow.” This was followed by Craig’s signature massage chair chuckle.
“I hear that brother.” He replied. “I’m still going to pay you Mitch, don’t worry about that!” It was official; Craig had finally gone off the deep end.
“Are you feeling okay today dude?” I asked him.
“Never better!” he answered. “It seems to me like you don’t fully trust your good buddy Craig, so I guess we’re going to have to change that!”
“What do you mean?”
“What I mean is that today I’ll close up the store so that we can hang out! I’ve been saving up enough cash so that me and a friend can go to Dorney Park for a day.”
“Look man, I’m still kind of stunned that you’re willing to give me a paid day off for no reason. Plus, wouldn’t it be a little strange for two grown men to just hang out at Dorney Park together?”
“You’re kidding me right? No one is too old for Dorney Park man! Seriously, you have to stop acting like such a snoople sometimes!
“I’m still not sure about this dude”
“You will be when we get there! Come on, I’ll drive us!”
One quality I would always like to change about myself would be my tendency to not accept a good situation. I always seem to “look a gift horse in the mouth” when I get something good that I don’t deserve. With this situation, it’s entirely different. When you have just received a fully paid day off from your job, it wouldn’t be the best idea to argue with your boss. So I complied with Craig and went with him to Dorney Park.
I have to admit, it was a pretty enjoyable day. Despite what I had said to Craig earlier, it’s true, no one is too old for Dorney Park. The rides were great, we got a fantastic adrenaline rush, and we both felt like kids again. After months of hating Craig, he really started to grow on me after today.
It was the end of the day, and I was waiting for Craig to come out of the gift shop so we could go home. He came out wearing a giant colorful striped hat and paper grocery bag.
“What’s in the bag?” I asked him.
“Just a few souvenirs I got.” he answered. Oh, by the way, this hat’s for you bro! Thanks for coming with me. I can see this as the start of a beautiful friendship!” He then proceeded to place it on my head. “Now you look like a regular miggin!” I was in such a good mood; I barely noticed his fake word. “Give me a minute and we’ll be ready to leave. I just got to hit the can first.”
As he went into the bathroom, I looked inside the paper bag. To my amazement, found a collection of watches and wallets inside of it! That’s when I heard something that made my hair on the back of my neck stand up.
“That’s the guy in the hat!” a voice shouted.
I looked behind me, only to find two security guards running at me in full speed.