Saturday, August 4, 2007
Another Saturday started this morning...but I knew that it wouldn't be just any Saturday because while we were running our diner, we were also helping out the Vietnam Veterans of America at the Flash Back Cruzin down at Drake Park. Originally, we were merely assisting the Salvation Army but at the last minute, they had to pull and I was able to get commitments from the VVA but had to move from assistant to lead because of the time. In the last few weeks, we had spent much of our time, proposing the idea to the VVA, helping them with their permit, and figuring out and securing the equipment and food needed.
Since I had the till with me, I knew that it was very important for me to get down to the park as early as possible even though I knew that there wouldn't be that many early BBQ burger sales. I drove down to the park, set up the till and made sure that the vets had all that they needed to get rolling with their sale. I then drove back to the diner to insure that the day started off well there also. Knowing that Judy would be there eased my mind on how the day would roll so I prepared to replenish the vets. I was soon called and informed that they were quickly running out of drinks. My grandson, Jayden and I ran to Costco and bought more and then headed back to the park.
We arrived to see the sales going very brisk. The crew was working well and each knew and did their position making it a very smooth operation. There only problem at that time was running out of things. It became very evident that they would not have enough condiments and the hot day was bringing them quite a lot of individual drink sales which I knew would affect the outcome as I had only figured on around 100 or so extra drinks and even though I had just brought in 4 more cases, I could see that it was going to be tight. The burgers too were selling fast so we jumped back into the van and headed back to Jake's for yet more replenishment. Picking up four more cases of Burgers, another log of cheese, and the last of the sweet relish, I checked in with Judy who was getting the bussers in their cleaning from a rather quiet morning. We had expected as much with the fair and cruz in going on. So, I quickly headed back to the park. As I pulled in, they were putting a fresh tank of propane on the bbq. But, with a very long line, the bbq was not lighting up. With plate laden customers waiting for their burgers standing all around me, I began tearing apart the bbq, trying to figure out why it was not lighting. Nothing I could do seemed to work and I could feel the hungry eaters growing impatient all around me.
One of the not so happy ones walked up to the cashier, Ron, and began to complain. "This is ridiculous!", she began, "I don't want to have to wai.........". Before she had all the words out, Ron had swept the plate from one hand and the partially drunken soda from her other and in one move, threw them in the garbage while handing her her $5 dollars back. "Anyone else want their money back?", he announced with a smile. I guess they understood because it really calmed down the complaints but unfortunately didn't stop the stares while with sweat rolling down my neck, I worked on the bbq. I managed to get the right side lit and got the guys rolling on cooking on that side while I got the left side lit also. Plopping down on one of the ice chests, I stuck my hands in some of the ice water and washed my face with its coldness. I quickly noted the stared turn to smiles as the burgers began to roll again.
Helping out where ever I was needed I tried to check the balances on all of the product and realized that I would not have enough buns and that the drinks were still off in number. The Rotory club stall next to us was winding down it's sales and I managed to buy three more cases of water from them and then took off for one last run getting more buns and one more case of root beer. Arriving at Jake's, I found a very tired wife who informed me that right after I had left on the last run, the diner had filled up and that right after she had sent half of the crew home. We kissed as she drove home and I ran back down to the park.
Jimmy joined me and with the lines showing no signs of slowing down, we first sold out of drinks, then out of chips and finally around 5 PM secured for the day. A bunch of very tired men secured, loaded, and cleaned up the area. Jimmy and I then drove our stuff back to the diner.
Before leaving for home, I took a quick count of the take and found that we were able to raise over $2000 for the VVA. All that from some shrewd purchasing deals, some donations (Frito Lay donated the chips), and some hard work from a handful of Vets. As tired as I am, I can go to bed feeling pretty good about the day.