Summer job.

We’ve been on a mission to explore more restaurants here in the thriving metropolis of Springfield, Missouri. If you’ve never been down this way, you might be surprised to find more ethnic range than you might expect. Good jobs and cheap living attracted us and apparently it’s attracted others as well.

Here in the last couple of weeks we’ve had Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai and Lebanese. Not only has it been good food at reasonable prices, but most of the restaurants are small, family-run operations. Which usually means the parents cook and the kids are servers. Teenagers stuck with mom and dad for the Summer can go a couple of different ways. In a few instances we’ve encountered incredibly outgoing kids. “Have you checked us out on Facebook?” one barely fourteen-year old asked us yesterday as he brought our drinks. And then there’s the other end of the spectrum: The kid who doesn’t want to be there. At all.

While the restaurant shall remain nameless, I’ll start by saying we had a great lunch. Outstanding, actually. I can’t wait to go back. Everyone was welcoming and friendly. All was well when I went to the cash register to pay.

Looking across the counter at the preteen kid who’d been a great server, I started dropping compliments.

“Thank you very much. Everything was great,” I said. She smiled back at me politely.

She ran my card and leaned forward, “I hate this place.”

I laughed and checked to make sure her mom wasn’t anywhere nearby.

“I could do SO much better than this,” she continued as the credit card machine spit out my receipt.

I told Cristi the story on the way back out to the car. She laughed. “What an awesome kid. Good for her.”

We’ll probably go back next week. If we’re lucky, we’ll get our favorite, unhappy server again.

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