My “first” 11 years at Flancers     By Myke Jones

I was asked today having celebrating my 11 years and 3,651 shifts at the café what is the most memorable moment I have. But it’s like someone asking you what is your favorite song or movie or food? There is way too many and every time I think of a funny story that happened or something I learned or enjoyed about somebody another would pop up or somebody else would come in who be one of my favorites and then “my favorite moment” would change.

The BIGGEST thing I have enjoyed in my years and easily what keeps me going is the people. Absolutely no question about it! From the moment I get into work with a friendly good morning and hello that Jeff always was consistent about and was genuine and now I hear from Greg, Jacinta, Manuel and the girls in the kitchen or the chef makes me welcome and then I want to spread it to the guests that come in later on.

But being nice and pleasant just isn’t enough for me. I love getting to know and learn about guests lives, not just what they like to eat but what they do, where they come from, what they stand for and what they represent. And once they allow me in their “kitchen” my second goal outside making their dining experience a positive one is to make them laugh. Because I know that they will make me laugh in return and as everyone knows the vibe you put out when you’re smiling carries all the way through the room.

When I was growing up my Dad taught me many things and knowing me he used to say time and time again…”Bear, (that is my nickname) for you to be your best all you need to do is keep your ears open, mouth shut and pay attention. If you do these three things you can accomplish anything.” So I told him, “Well Dad I think I can do two of the three!” Keeping my mouth shut has always been a challenge but when you work in restaurant you have to have verbal skills especially in the front of the house so having the “excuse” to talk helps me in getting to know people better thus taking the relationships to another level. Being able to skip the “Boy, sure is great weather outside” helps get you to get further and further in making friends, forming a bond not just “waiting on a guest.”

Easily in 11 years in having the honor of forming relationships with people the thing I admire the most is seeing people’s family and how they have grown. I’ve known patrons that are married that had no children and now have kids that are grown and getting ready to be in junior high. Others that were in high school that are married now with kids of their own!  Parents that are now proud grandparents! Some that joined the Marines, some went on their missions, one that even lives in Utah now and every time he’s in town he comes for a Prickly Pear sandwich and I can shout out “Here comes Drew!” I think of him as the “Pied Piper of prickly pear!”

Another guest who works as a police officer I know and consider to be one of my best friends, we’ve gone to see NFL games on the road and he will call ahead to see if I’m working and I’ll get the table ready for him and his family drinks included! I met him and his wife and two boys waiting on them years ago. That’s the good stuff for me! People asking for me when I’m not there and kidding me the next time I see them because I “took off” when they were coming in. I love it!  Getting a text to see if I’ll be working that night? How can you not love it! I get make money AND be entertained. I don’t look at it the other way. I’m the lucky one for sure. Again that is the good stuff.

In closing, it’s impossible to get to know EVERYBODY the way you want to. Some don’t even want that kind of service. But it’s just like the old television show “Cheers”. “Where everybody knows your name…” You strive for that knowing you won’t hit perfection and the high you feel leaving the place every night with  a smile on your face brings you back again and again. Or in my case the 3,562 (including tonight) and counting!!

And maybe I’ll see you on 3,563………….

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