Thursday, November 18, 2010

Big50 Day 13: My First Job

I got my first job when I was 15.  They had a noticeboard up at school, and there was an ad for a petrol station very close to my place.  When I went home and told my Daddy, it turned out one of his buddies from the drag strip was the owner.  So he came along with me, had a chat to Wayne (the boss) and I got the job.

I loved it.  The work was just physical enough that I felt active, and was much more interesting than flipping burgers or packing groceries.  I got to meet cute guys with nice cars, and I learned a lot about cars while I was working there.  I was given responsibility and not talked down to (by my boss at least) even though I was a girl in a man's world.  Weekend mornings in the summer we were so busy I hardly had time to turn around, but mid-week evenings were quiet enough that I could read the magazines while I waited for customers.

It wasn't all sunshine and bunnies though.  We never got held up while I was working there, thank goodness, but we did have several drive-offs, or people would leave valuables for their petrol and never came back.  We had one guy come in and leave 4 brand-new tyres as payment for his tank of petrol.  He had several more in the back seat of the car.  Wayne smelled a rat and ran his number plate.  It turned out the car (and the tyres) were stolen from a dealership, and our security video helped to catch him.  Another time, a lady came up to the counter where I was serving while the guy she was with pumped his petrol outside.  He was yelling at her to come back out, and she was yelling back that she wanted to buy smokes.  When she got to the counter, she leaned over and said urgently to me, "please help me, he's kidnapped my baby, he has a machete under his seat."  I knew that it wasn't some kind of joke - she was terrified.  I poked my head out the back where Wayne was and repeated what she'd told me, and he casually leaned over and hit the emergency stop on the pumps, then, while his wife called the cops, Wayne ambled out to the guy like nothing was amiss and told him we were having a problem with the pumps and he had to wait.  He stood and chatted to the guy, reassuring him that the pumps would be back up in no time, right up until the cops pulled up.  Sure enough, there was a machete under his seat.  It turned out they were an estranged couple and he'd tracked her down and taken off with her and the kid.  Who knows what his plans were?

We also had an incident where one of my coworkers was stealing from the till.  She was very careful to do it only when she was working with me.  I'm not sure if she was aware that my family was friends with Wayne and that I was the least likely person there to be stealing from them, but she was certainly trying to frame me.  Wayne was sure that it wasn't me, but he had to get proof, so they marked some bills in our float one day and asked both of us to turn out our wallets when they were missing.  Of course, they were in her wallet, not mine.  Wayne was devastated and it was shortly after that incident that they sold up and I got a new boss.

The petrol station was also where I started smoking.  Most of my coworkers smoked so I picked up the habit from them.  I was never a really heavy smoker, and have been completely smoke-free for nearly 7 years now, but that doesn't stop me getting cravings still, especially when I'm stressed.

What was your first job?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

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