December 10, 2012

London, England

Names have been changed to protect the ignorant and guilty.

Facts Only

I will admit, I was late for work. Around 6:00PM I arrived at Gate 50 at the Football Club. No we’re not talking real American football we are talking soccer. After speaking with Sam I was instructed to walk to the school to get a uniform. I arrived at the school I saw bags with everyones belongings unattended in the cafeteria area. There was no one around watching the employee’s bags, and there was no one to give me a uniform. Once I reported back to Sam he apologized for sending me on a dummy mission and informed me that I would be working with the food hawkers refilling insulated hotdog caddies since I didn’t have a uniform. I was like cool.

We walked to the refilling area on the eastside of the stadium and I met a short guy with no teeth. I asked Sam what his name was, and although I truly enjoy working with Sam I often can’t understand his thick Indian accent. At this point the toothless man had no name. He asked me for mine and I told him. His response, “I’m just gonna call you trouble because you look like trouble.” After all the hawkers were given their hotdogs the man with no teeth, two other food hawkers, and I walked through the still empty stadium to the westside. As we walked through the stadium the man with no teeth told any and everybody that would listen that I was with him, and that I was his girlfriend.

Once we got to the westside I asked the toothless man what his name was, his response, “call me boss.” I asked a colleague and found out the toothless man is called Kyle. Then the whole mess with the hotdogs began. The buns were frozen. Unable to hold his temper Kyle began to yell at the two workers in the westside station, then he started calling people on the walkie talkie to come help him sort out the problem. Over the next 10 to 15 minutes about five guys showed up that I recognized from working previous matches. The conclusion came when the person with the most authority arrived and said to Kyle, “the buns need to be heated, isn’t this something you can sort out yourself?”

Kyle’s frustration and embarrassment was apparent. He told us to stuff all the hotdogs in buns, then to stuff them in the selling bags, and to stack them in the oven. Around this time Kyle gave me his clipboard and instructed me to keep track of how many hotdogs I gave to each hawker. He also told me that when they came for refills I needed to switch out any left overs with fresh ones from the oven. The final instruction at that point was to box up the hotdogs once they were warm and to bring them to the refill station on the eastside. “This is my job so don’t it mess up” Kyle informed me before he departed, and I didn’t see him again until before half time.

As I digested all of the instructions given in my new role as station manager, I began to smell smoke. I asked the other employees if we should take the hotdogs out of the oven. Neither of the employees working in the station had worked with this oven before. They looked to me for answers that I did not have. I opened the door of the refill station looking for help but football fans crowded the hallways. Finally, I tracked down somebody who immediately took all of the hotdogs off the botRon shelf. Not long after the fire warden arrived. I explained to him the situation and had him sign the clipboard from Kyle to cover my bases. I also noted the wastage of seven burnt hotdogs on the clipboard.

Time went on and I decided to take a load of hotdogs to the refill station on the eastside. Once I got there two hawkers were waiting with empty insulated hotdog caddies. They had been looking for Kyle and ran out of hotdogs 30 minutes before my arrival with the refill. While walking back to the westside I ran into Kyle. As we walked he put his arm in mine. We walked arm in arm and again he told everybody that would listen that I was with him, I shook my head discretely and tried to unhook my arm. As I pulled away from him he asked, “You don’t love me anymore?” That’s when I knew this toothless man was absolutely bonkers.

When we arrived at the westside station a lot more people were inside bagging hotdogs and dealing with the cold hotdog bun situation. Kyle barked at everyone for a little while then he informed another catering employee that I recognized from the previous match, “I’m taking the pretty one with me … I’m not leaving her here.” Reluctantly, I followed Kyle to the other side of the stadium. I could not wear my coat because it was grey and black was the only permitted color. I was very cold since I had no uniform and the air off the Thames River is brutal. Kyle noticed and he gave me his jacket, I tried to give it back to him incessantly but he wouldn’t take it. While I was wearing his jacket he continuously put his hands in the pockets touching me, claiming to be looking for random things. Once we arrived at the refilling station I gave him the jacket back. None of the hawkers were there. I immediately suggested we go back and help the others and I walked out of the empty room.

As we walked through the empty corridor Kyle put his arm around my waist and kept tickling me. I pushed him away twice. Then we walked to another concession stand not far from where Sam my supervisor is usually set up. Of course on this evening he is missing in action. Kyle got a coffee and a tea. He gave me the tea and told me to put six sugars and three creams in his coffee. I had no idea making coffee was in my job description but I figured it was a price I was willing to pay for a free cup of tea on a freezing cold London evening. Afterwards we walked back around the stadium which was now full, I believe it was after halftime. Kyle tried to hold on to me because it was crowded but I moved behind him and let him lead the way through the crowd. As we attempted to make our way through Kyle yelled all kinds of ignorant things, “watch your backs … ugly guy and a pretty lady walking through …” he was even yelling “hotdogs … beer” even though neither one of us were selling either item at that time. Walking around with this loud toothless man was mortifying.

Once we got back to westside I tried to force my way into the work station but it was too crowded. I was stuck with Kyle on the outside. He was enjoying the game as though he was a paying customer. Chanting and joking loudly with the rowdy British fans. Telling them “the American is with me” and a bunch of other ignorant things that I tried not to pay attention to. I decided taking another load of hotdogs to the eastside would be the perfect get away and luckily when I arrived there were two hawkers waiting. I still had the clipboard. At this point the hawkers I inherited responsibility for had sold 80 hotdogs between themselves and the game was coming to an end.

I got back to the westside and had a few minutes of peace before Kyle came banging on the door telling me to come with him. As we walked out I asked if I could go checkin with Sam (my supervisor) and Kyle told me flat out, “No.” He then informed me we needed to find all the hawkers and count the money. After rounding up a few hawkers we made it back to the eastside where the rest were waiting. Kyle then began to tell us all his business. He told us that he is paid hourly until the game starts then he is on salary. He told us that since we started a fire he would have to stay until 12AM to do an incident report. He informed us, “I can’t count good, so I’m gonna radio for someone to come count the tills.” This didn’t go over well with the other staff. Someone on the walkie talkie told him to do it himself. Then he told me to sit next to him, hold out my hands and to count behind him. About midway through this process the boss arrived. I’m sure he remembers me. I was the one smiling in the beginning of my shift and by the end I looked pissed from dealing with Kyle all evening. I stopped counting when Ron arrived. I want to see what Kyle would say, he said nothing.

After Ron left to get movie tickets for Valerie our hotdog selling champion of the evening, Kyle asked for everyones job card. He said he was signing them but that was some bull. I don’t know what he was really doing since signing job cards was Sam’s job. I noticed he put mine in his pocket. He wrote something on all the cards and had me hand them back to the hawkers since he couldn’t remember anyones name. I asked several times for my job card and he kept telling me “hold on.” As we were waiting for security to come and take the money Kyle asked me to lead all the hawkers back to the school to get their belongings.

Before I could escape Kyle attempted to kiss me goodbye. I was so disgusted I mushed his face away from me as hard as I could. It ended up being an awkward one sided hug. I am not the only female he attempted to kiss, I think the other girls name was Jessie. It was nasty. Slime from the front of his mouth got on my shirt. As I walked away he yelled to me, “Hey make sure you come back I’m gonna tell your supervisor you did a really good job, get here earlier next time.” Little did he know I had already made up my mind to never come back.

I took the group to Sam and he signed our job cards. He asked me how my shift was and I asked him jokingly why he had me work with Kyle. Sam was not amused, he then inquired about what occurred. I did not elaborate, I told him “I never ever want to work with Kyle again.” He told me he would have to write a report and that’s how I ended up sharing this tale of the toothless man.

That was the last time I worked at the football club and I do not miss it. It is never my goal to get anyone in trouble but when people cross the line I’m not one to sit around silent. Plus Kyle’s actions had repercussions on hotdog sales and the amount of wastage. If he wouldn’t have instructed us to overstuff the hotdogs into the oven hotdogs wouldn’t have been burning on the bottom shelf. If hawkers were able to locate him during the match they would have received refills in decent timing and sold more hotdogs! Cause and effect.

But whatever, now I know how to lead a team of food hawkers under any circumstances fire, lack of training, or harassment! There will always be a pot of gold at the end of my rainbows.


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