It’s A Gamble Working With Him

, , , , , | Working | January 12, 2019

(I am a long-term employee in a restaurant at a horse racing venue. The tables are arranged on tiers with huge windows facing the track, so people are there first and foremost to gamble and watch the races. We have a lot of employees coming and going, and as a supervisor, I always try to be friendly and initiate conversation with new staff if there is a quiet moment. This particular night I open with what I thought was a pretty generic question.)

Me: “So, are you interested in horse racing?”

New Coworker: “WHAT?! WHY WOULD YOU ASK ME THAT? I’M JUST HERE TO WORK!” *storms off in a huff*

Me: *speechless*

(Ten minutes later:)

New Coworker: “I’m sorry about earlier. I really do like horses. When I was younger I liked to draw them. They’re such beautiful animals…”

(He proceeds to talk about his affinity with horses while I stand, still quite horrified by his previous outburst, and now quite disturbed by his subsequent dramatic change in demeanour. I keep my distance from him from then on, until I see he has left his change float glass sitting on a table. We each carry a glass with $20 of change in it on our drinks tray so we can take customers’ money at the table, give them change, and then order and pay at the bar. It saves the customers going to the bar to order. I pick up his float, and when he comes back to the bar I take him aside to quietly explain why he can’t leave the cash unattended. He flips out! He starts yelling about how HIS customers would never steal from him, and then starts slamming half-full, dirty glasses into the clearing rack next to me. In the process, he manages to splash what we call “slops” — the gross leftovers from dirty glasses — over a nearby customer. He storms off again, and I apologise to the customer and help her clean up. At this point, I am quite frankly scared of the guy, and one of my bosses happens to walk past. In a workplace with a transient workforce and, quite frankly, not a lot of appreciation for workers, I do the only thing I can think of.)

Me: “[Boss], I’m sorry to leave you hanging, but I’m going to have to leave. [New Coworker] is acting unpredictably, with violent outbursts, and I don’t feel safe.”

Boss: “Why don’t you go on break and let me sort it out?”

(He fired the guy mid-shift, and I was later told that the guy waited by the front staff entrance until the staff left at the end of the night. I’m so thankful that I had parked by the back exit. I also found out later that he was a regular patron at the nearby casino, which might have explained his sensitivity to gambling questions.)

 

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