I work for an organization that helps men, both young and old who have been afflicted by drug and alcohol abuse. We teach them the skills they'll need to become productive members of society through a year long program that involves building their spiritual faith, job training, counseling, etc., we refer to them as "Students". There are two main facilities where they work, one being the "Center" where they focus on their spiritual faith, personal responsibilities, and life skills. The other, where I work closely with these individual is in one of 4 retail thrift stores teaching skills like customer service/interaction, production and processing of donations, money handling, and public relations.
Like the thrift store giant Goodwill, we receive, sort, and process donated goods for resale. Sale of these goods goes back into providing for these individuals housing, personal effects, meals, etc. Work begins when a donation is dropped off in our receiving department and each item is sorted into it's respective categorical area, clothes, shoes, appliances, toys, and so forth. The items are then cleaned, priced, and distributed to each store department for sale. This particular store has two levels, a first and second floor. The second floor consists mainly of furniture and hardwares. Each floor has one student responsible for stocking shelves, assisting customers, and they assist each other as needed.
With Christmas on the horizon, we'd been filling the shelves as one could imagine. Donations by the score are being dropped off and sorted. On this day, someone dropped off a huge group of toys. In this group there happened to be a new unused Kenner Easy Bake Oven with an assortment of cake mixes. As with the other toys, the Kenner was processed and packaged so as to sell as a whole.
Onto the floors... Our first floor guy receives a shopping cart filled with items to stock the shelves. The student I had working the first floor that day is 38 years old and happens to be one who I personally took a liking to as he has an awesome attitude, positive outlook, and is always productive when working with me, however, from time to time his inner child tends to surface and he needs to be reeled back in. I'll call him "Adam". As Adam stocked the toy departments shelves this morning, he walked by me carrying this "Easy Bake" oven all the while flashing a mischievous smile. I knew what he was thinking and I insisted that he remove these thoughts from his mind and concentrate on work. He just smiled. I shook my head and muttered "kids".
The day went by without incident until about 4 pm in the afternoon when I noticed Adam was not to be found anywhere on the first floor. I went into the process area at the back of the store and did not find him. I assumed he may have had to assist the second floor guy "Evan" with a piece of furniture so I proceeded upstairs reaching the landing and noticing a calm quietness to the floor. I said nothing, but listened. I could hear the faint sound of voices whispering so I walked towards the sounds. As I neared a group of living room furniture I could hear giggling. I stepped around an area of bookshelves to find Adam and Evan relaxing on the floor in front of this living room group with the Easy Bake oven plugged in, propped on a coffee table, a tv/vcr movie going, a couple dirty cake pans, and more cake pans ready for baking. They didn't realize I was there and continued giggling like a couple little girls. I loudly shouted "What the heck you two doing?" and scared the hell out of them. They about jumped out of their shoes. I couldn't believe that Adam convinced Evan to set up the oven to enjoy snacks and watch "High Plains Drifter" on tv?? Their smiles instantly vanished. The two birds jumped into clean up mode without a word said. Evan wiped chocolate frosting from his lips as he picked up the messy pans. Adam had cake pouches shoved in his pockets as he hurried to clean up, I could barely contain myself as I thought it was quite funny, yet this was a situation that could have resulted in serious disciplinary action and loss of many of their privileges.
Neither had a word to say for themselves and I didn't have the heart to cite the incident. I expressed my dismay and left it at that. This however goes to show that even in your 30's, you're "never too old" to enjoy....
WISHING YOU AND YOURS A BLESSED AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR IN