I was fifteen that day. I lied about my age to get a job at Taco Bell in June of '69. I worked there for three weeks in the night shift as I was going to driving school. It paid 75 cents an hour, but all you could eat for free. They lost on the deal. There was a Dairy Queen next to us and we'd swap food for banana splits and parfaits (they had them back then.) Everything on the menu was a quarter. What I loved they don't have now. It was called a bell beefer. Ground hamburger with red chile and shredded cheese. They were good. The problem was we were only allowed 30 minutes to clean up after closing and the lady I worked with did nothing be piddle around and smoke. I had to clock out and it took another hour to get everything done. My mom meanwhile was waiting out in the car for me until 1am. She said there were times she would have paid me the 75 cents an hour not to work. Believe or not I got fired. Talk about a blessing.
I got another job in a few days at Ham's A&W root beer drive-in. It was kind of the Sonic of that day. I was paid $1.15/hour and it was within walking distance of home. We could have all the root beer or soft drinks for free everything else was charged to our paychecks. After a week of drinking root beer I noticed that the skin around my Adam's apple was tight. When I mentioned it at work they all said they stopped drinking the root beer too for that reason and switched to water. I still love A&W root beer, but now it's diet.
I was working there the day of the moon landing and learned about it the next day when I got up.
I worked the drinks and took the orders off the intercom. There were two car hops, a guy with me at the drink station and cooks behind us. It took about ten minutes after we closed to clean up, but the coolers where we kept the glass mugs had a stainless steel top and the counters were stainless steal. The last thing we did was wipe them down with pure ammonia. Talk about leaving with a buzz.
When I took the order I also had to add up the amount owed. If I added up wrong and it was more than ordered the car hop would catch it from the customer, have to bring it back with to get the right amount and then go back to collect. They also didn't get a tip. On a busy night this stacked things up and I caught hell. If I was short it came out of my paycheck. I quickly learned to double and triple check my figures.
Once Mom, my brother and sister came. I could see them from the window at the order station. One of the items we were out of so I said, "Mom, we don't have that today."
The other guy at the soda station came unglued. "You don't talk to customers that way!"
I said, "That's my mother."
One of the car hops was waiting for an order, she'd just graduated high school. She said, "That's really your mother?"
I said, "Yes."
"Good," she said. "I want to take it out. I'm going to tell her she's going to be a grandmother."
I learned that summer, the one before I started high school as a sophomore. They had Junior highs back then. That the last place I ever wanted to work again was in food. My next job was working at a Skaggs Drug store.