Jobs I’ve Had, The Early Years – The Loud, The Scary, and The Embarrassing

Image result for free images of roy rogers horse trigger

photo courtesy of Wikipedia

My first real job did not involve singing in front of people. But it had some of the same features. I worked at a Roy Rogers Restaurant. If you’re not familiar with the chain, it’s like an Arby’s except western style. They had great roast beef sandwiches and their Double R Bar sandwich was amazing. At least I thought it was when I was 16.

I don’t know how they make their employees dress now, but in the 70s I was dressed as a cowgirl. Cute enough uniform, but when you add the other requirements of the chain, it became downright embarrassing.

I ran the register and when someone came up to order, I’d have to say, “Howdy partner, can I take your order please?”

If that wasn’t bad enough, when they’d leave, I was forced to say, “Happy trails.”

I always thought of Roy Rogers as a sweet, caring cowboy. I guess this practice revealed his dark side. He would never have put Trigger through such humiliation.

Friends would come into the restaurant just to hear me say those words. That’s how you know who your real friends are – they’ll go out of their way just to mock you! I didn’t mind too much. At least there was no horse manure to clean up. That job didn’t last long.

I discovered I could make more money babysitting, so that’s what I did until I graduated from high school. Then I worked at various secretarial jobs including one on Andrews Air Force Base. At some point in this story, Bob and I got married and a year later moved to Florida where I worked for the Social Security Administration as a data review technician until I had my first child.

Related image

Teletype Machine – Photo credit:

That job was more like an editing job. I examined all the forms and made sure they were filled out correctly and then I would sit at a teletype machine and input the data. It was a loud room. As I typed, yellow punched tape would roll out of the machine. At the end of the day, I’d call the main office in Baltimore and send the tapes through. I quit just as computers were being brought in to replace those noisy machines. It’s a wonder I didn’t lose my hearing.

Image result for fuller brush company free images

Photo Credit:

After two children had come along, I decided it would be nice if I could work from home and make a little extra cash. Somehow or another, I heard about Fuller Brush and became a door-to-door salesperson. I had a territory and on Saturdays Bob would stay with the kids and I would go knocking on strangers’ doors.

This was a little off-putting at times, but I sold a lot of brooms, brushes, and degreaser. I discovered that at times an unanswered door could be better than an answered one, because those opened doors could present opportunities that didn’t involve selling Fuller brushes.

The opened door of a small house which looked like it could use a lot of TLC was one such opportunity. Two small children answered the door. They must have been 3 or 4 years old. They opened the door and just stood there. I asked if their mommy was home. They nodded. I could see into the house. It was dark for a Saturday morning. All the shades were drawn but I could make out a figure of a person way on the other side of the house. It was as if she was sitting at the end of a long, dark tunnel with just a hint of light behind her.

She barely made a sound but I could see her raise her hand from the chair and beckon me to come in. I froze for a minute. It was like something out of a movie. Finally, she uttered the words, “Can you help me?”

This was way before cell phone days so I was on my own to stay or go. I’m not sure why, except it must have been the peace of God coming over me, but I entered the house. I gingerly walked over to her and she whispered that she was having trouble breathing. She could barely move and wanted to go to the hospital but couldn’t afford an ambulance and her husband could not be reached at work.

I used her phone to call my husband. I filled him in, loaded her kids and her into the car and took off for my house for Bob to watch the kids.  At the hospital they were concerned that she may have had a heart attack, but she was given a diagnosis of pleurisy.

Through this difficult day, she and I discovered that we were both Christians. Long story short, we spent several hours together at the hospital. By the end of the day she and her kids were back in their home with her husband.

How about you? When you think back on the jobs you’ve had, have you had any unusual encounters with people? Feel free to share in the comments.


This is Post #27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

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  1. Thank you for sharing, Bonnie! We never know what can happen when you leave the house.
    I met a lady one day and I said to her; ” you have such a nice smile ” and she replied by saying; ” you made my day ” I was happy that I could help her with one small action.

  2. I’ve never heard that story, Bonnie. Amazing how God had you there at the right time.

  3. Rob Swanson

     /  April 27, 2019

    Howdy, Bonnie (I can say that without embarrassment).

    Having held 45 jobs in my multiple careers, I’ve got enough job-related stories to fill a book (hmmm). My first jobs were at drive-in theaters, first during the day doing clean up (stories, stories, best untold), fixing speakers, yard work (I was 14 years old), then finally graduated to the evening work, in the ticket booth, concessions, and in the field (more stories about what I saw in cars).

    I was held up at gunpoint, found a dead guy in a car, and other strange things. The wildest thing that ever happened was when I was working with the police and a Spanish lady on the sidewalk was in labor. We rushed her to the hospital, she and I in the back seat. Between the language barrier and the dress hiking up, I was terrified. To say I delivered the baby would be a lie. To say I was plastered to the far door trying not to look would be the truth. We got to the hospital just as the baby slid out. I promise I didn’t scream. I think. Guess who had to clean the car? I still remember the smell….

    • Wow! You have had a lot of jobs and these stories are so vividly told I can see they are emblazoned on your brain. You really do need to write a book.

  4. Jeanine Byers

     /  April 27, 2019

    I’ve never been to a Roy Rogers restaurant, but now I wish I had! What a great story about how you helped that woman get to the hospital. I know there must have been many other reasons, but I think one of the reasons you had the idea to join that company was her, so you could be in the right place at the right time. It’s so interesting how God can have secret reasons for prompting the decisions we make – some that we may never even know about – and thank goodness he does.

    • I love how you refer to this as God’s secret reasons for prompting the decisions we make. I totally believe that. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Fabulous story, Bonnie. What an incredible blessing that you knocked on that door at just the right time. God works in mysterious ways. You took me back to my first job working at a bakery.

    • Thank you for you comment, Andrea. Yes, this does fall into God’s mysterious ways category. I imagine working at a bakery taught you a lot. I’m glad you got to flash back at your time there.

  6. great stories and you have “been around the block in you working days. ESpecially enjoyed the story of the time you got there just in time for helping the lady who was sick. In her eyes you had to be the angel of mercy.

    • Thanks, Doug. I wonder if I would do the same thing today with things being quite a bit different than they were 35 years ago. I hope I would.

  7. Martha DeMeo

     /  April 27, 2019

    How wonderful that you happened to knock on that lady’s door and you were able to help her. I had a similar experience when I was delivering Meals on Wheels way back when my children were younger. My 3 year old would always go with me, we got to one home, knocked on the door and no answer. I looked in and saw the lady’s legs in the hallway. I called the office and they called the ambulance but while I was waiting the lady kept calling out to me. I managed to get in through her bathroom window and ran to open the door to get my daughter and wait for the ambulance. She had fallen when walking from the shower and only had a towel so didn’t want the ambulance crew to come in and see her that way. I was able to get her decent and with the help of my daughter taking with her, she became more relaxed. Luckily she was fine and we continued on to the next home.

    • Oh my, that’s quite a story, too. How wonderful that you were there. I know she was so grateful. Thank you for sharing this with me.

  8. Vanessa Marks

     /  April 29, 2019

    Your God given purpose is still unfolding. I knew you were a good Samaritan. Best testimony (blog) ever.

    • Thank you, Vanessa. What a privilege it is to walk with God! You never know what his plans are for you on any given day. It’s an exciting life.


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