Wednesday, June 7th, 2017
What an introduction to life it was.
Only two days after graduating high school, I went with my uncle to hang out one night. He was driving, I was in the passenger. While on the road, there was a tractor trailer ahead of us on the far right side of a three lane road while we were on the far left. There was a light ahead that was green, then changed yellow. We were closing in on the light when I noticed the tractor trailer began to slow down & begin a wide left turn. I noticed it, but thought the driver would notice us coming & cease the turn. But he didn’t. He kept going, & then my uncle noticed him cut in front of all three lanes while we were nearly about to pass through the light. In no time, I hear my uncle slam on the breaks to stop, but to no avail. We collided with the side of the tractor trailer in seconds. It was a hard hit. The impact was stronger on the passenger side, my side.
It was the second car accident I’ve ever been in but being the first real up close accident.
A funny coincidence was the tractor trailer was from Dominos heading right to the Dominos shop that was in the shopping outlet to the left of us that we’d pass by when passing the light. And Dominos has been my favorite pizza place to order. Now I & my family would have to face off against the company.
Thank God & to whoever invented the seatbelt. No one was hurt. Or so I thought. My uncle & the truck driver both got out to take pictures & report the damages to the police & insurance company.
I, on the other hand, was in a state of shock for at least a good ten minutes. The impact had forced my body to thrust forward, but the seatbelt restrained me. Yet, the force upon me made my chest sore. I was almost silent about it until my uncle asked if I was okay. Even the truck driver had asked along with my grandmother who came to the scene shortly after. I was told I should go to the hospital immediately since I admitted to some chest pains.
I went back home & thought sleeping it off would be fine. Because I didn’t want to go to the hospital & be sitting there for numerous hours waiting to be treated for something I felt minor but everyone thought could be major. The next day, the pain was still there. Which prompted my father to take me to the hospital where I was given an x-ray scan & prescription for pills to ease the pain. Though, there was no serious damage done at all. I was also given a three day relief note for work or any important activities. All of which I felt were not necessary for me.
I had worked McDonalds as a whole for about three years though having worked at three different locations. With me finally graduated high school, I was no longer restrained from being able to work anytime of the day since I could only work afternoons. When I requested to work more on weekdays & less on weekends, it apparently gave the scheduling manager a fit as if one less person on the weekends would hurt performance so much. It was mistaken that I did not want to work weekends at all, which resulted in me being taken off the schedule completely for a week all because of my request. A damn shame that was.
After the accident & me going to the hospital, I was only scheduled for one day apparently. And that was two days after the accident which was a three hour shift. And I was late for that day because of some insignificance I had to take care of. Yet, the explanation & doctor’s note saved me, but I unfortunately could not even work those three hours because of the note & fear of if something happened during my relief that the company would be in trouble. I was forced to go back home.
A couple weeks had went by, I heard nothing from my job. My mother, who is a manager herself at a local McDonalds, had contacted the store trying to figure out what was going on. It was said that they were undergoing a company change & would be having a mandatory meeting. I said I would be present for that day. But apparently my body said no. Because I overslept. Brilliant job Steph. Now you just lost your job.
Well, I wasn’t sure if I had actually lost it. I could’ve called. I didn’t get the “you’re fired” or, “you’re terminated” or whatever the case is when you lose a job. I guess you can say I forfeited it. I felt an urge to move on with my life in hopes of things falling into place. Such as me finding a bigger & better job. I felt my time at McDonalds was enough of a introduction to the working environment. As well as me quickly trying not to spend an eternity at a place like that.
There was a drought in job searching. Well, there were always jobs listed online, but those that I’d apply for would not respond in time before I’d soon be lectured by my mother to find a job so I don’t find myself on my computer on a daily basis doing nothing with my life.
When I worked at McDonalds, I always had a dream of stepping up into a bigger & fancier establishment. Like a fancy restaurant or some kind of job where classy attire is welcomed such as a suit & tie kind of thing. Living in a small city like Wilmington, Delaware, a kid can dream big can’t he?
Wednesday, July 12th, 2017
I finally had the opportunity to take the road test at the DMV for my license. Things were looking up. I had been facing setback after setback to even get to the road test part. I woke up to a bright sunny day. My father was taking me. We had practiced a bit beforehand with some basic driving in a empty parking lot & parking. When we were on our way, clouds were moving in fast. I didn’t suspect rain, but should’ve check the weather to be sure. We arrived at the DMV, all required paperwork in possession, awaiting the instructor to be present to us. But while we waited, those clouds that moved in? Yeah, they unleashed torrents of rain as we waited. Which of course, resulted in the cancellation of my test. And what pissed me off was that the DMV scheduled my next road test a months later. Though, it gave ample amount of time for more practice to ensure I was ready by then.
Another couple weeks later, one of my aunts that worked at the Sheraton Hotel informed me that they had opening positions & would insure that my application is reviewed. The thought of working at a hotel excited me. I thought about coming in, dressing fancy, meeting & assisting various people. It would certainly be a step up from fast food.
Though, hopes did die down a bit as one of the jobs, Bell person, was not in my reach due to not having a driver’s license. And I later realized that was the job that was exclusively set in my dreams of working there. I filled another application for their Banquet Server position, but that could not be found I was told. Turns out the department manager for that position brushed off my application thinking I was just a random person but later found out I was my mother’s son & regretted it because of where I finally ended up at. Room Attendant.
Still, I had received a job working at a hotel, so the imagination of how it would turn out was still there. Until my first day that is.
Tuesday, August 1st, 2017
I came in with a dress shirt, vest, dress pants, dress shoes & a bow tie. Ready to rock out in this new job. Quite frankly, I wore the perfect attire for the Banquet Server position, but not for the Room Attendant. They called it the “Houseman” job. I learned it to be basically a supplier for the housekeepers, stocking up the supply closets, collecting all linen on the floors, responding to front desk calls & requests, & so forth. For the first couple of days, I was doing jobs that I’d expect the maintenance people to do, such as power steaming carpets in vacant rooms. With me wearing dress shoes on a job where I was constantly walking from floor to floor & carrying heavy loads, my feet were screaming bloody murder.
The workers were nice as well. It was a female dominate environment with only a handful of men, but everyone was still nice. There were a few other young girls working as housekeepers, I was the youngest man working in the building.
It was also a full-time job. My first ever full-time job. I was guaranteed forty hours a week & would be paid every two weeks. And the shifts would be early mornings such as 7-3’s, 8-4’s, & 9-5’s. For the first week, I was working the same shifts as my aunt was who was a Front Desk Agent so I was able to get rides there with her. But the next week, she went on vacation, meaning I would be on my own.
Without a license & a car, I was catching the bus there. And even that was a struggle. There was no bus that could take you directly there. The closest you could get was about a 15-20 minute walk away from the place.
And what made it further piss me off was there was a long narrow roadway in between a marsh that would take you directly there but towards the end, the roadway was flooded with water which was not walkable, but drivable if you had the balls to do it risking car damage. But, there was a transport van that you could call for at the bus stop. I would be near exhausted when I returned home.
Having to catch the bus was basically a hit or miss. It wasn’t like I had a problem with waking up on time or oversleeping like I did last time. I would check to see when the next bus would come & head out to the bus stop. But nowadays, you can’t always guarantee the bus to be present at the time it says. Theres the chance that it already came minutes early from the time it said it would, which has happened to me numerous times before. Or that chance of it being delayed. Or that chance of you trying to catch the bus at a awkward time having to wait several minutes or longer for the next one.
Not to mention there only being two different buses that pass by the same stop. However, one is a longer ride taking a different route with more stops, & the other takes the highway which gets there quicker. My timing & the timing of the buses were never impeccable. I found myself late to work all week which disappointed my department manager. She was a nice woman. Gave me a warm welcome to the job. I felt bad for disappointing her. I didn’t feel I could stay any longer there.
The department manager for the Banquet Server discovered my inner suffering of the job & would try to have me work with him when he could in hopes that the General Manager would allow me to transfer over. But they were short staffed for Housemen. So it couldn’t happen. Maybe not then, but possibly later. Maybe. Who knows? None would ever because I had already set myself to be done with the job.
But rather than disappear, I decided to finish my first two weeks. Luckily when I started, it was on a new pay period. So I was guaranteed a check right after. But after seeing my schedule for the following week, I super was about done with the job.
My shift was almost over. Minutes before it was time to go, I did what I never seriously had done before. I went into a supply closet & sat on a stepping stool. There, I bowed my head & began to speak. “Praying” they call it. I have honestly never prayed before. Like, seriously sit in a quiet room & believe myself to be speaking to the Lord. There was one thing I had asked in my prayer. I didn’t ask for money, I didn’t ask for a better job, I didn’t ask for anything but guidance. “Guide me to a direction for success” I asked for. To put me in a direction where success can be made, & I will follow that path. I put my trust in him, but inside I thought it’d be a long shot.
I had to break the news to my aunt that I did not like the job & wanted to resign. I was afraid to tell my department manager, which led to my aunt telling her for me. I thought they’d both be upset with me, but it turned out they weren’t. She understood my frustration with the job, & understood that its not meant for everyone. She wished me the best of things to come, & even gave me a ride to the bus stop as a warm farewell.
It was definitely safe to say that was the first job I legitimately quit.
I didn’t want to tell my mother of me quitting so soon, especially without a backup plan again. But how long would I have been able to keep that from her? She would’ve definitely noticed by me being home much often again as I was. She eventually found out from my aunt & was disappointed in me as I thought.
I told my father about me quitting & he too was disappointed. Though, understanding of how difficult & stressful the job was through my cries. But gave me guidance to learn that there will be jobs that will have you at the edge of the cliff. You just have to hold & stand firm no matter how hard it tries to push you off.
Friday, August 25th, 2017
Round two at the DMV. And this time, it was a clear sunny sky. We once again arrived at the DMV & awaited the instructor. I, however, was nervous on the inside. And the instructor sensed it from the beginning. The first thing I was instructed to do, was parallel park. It was something my father & I had not touched on much during our days of practice. We thought we’d begin with basic driving, which I felt confident in doing, & then parking last. But in this case, parallel parking is first thing. You get three attempts to get something right. If you miss all three, the whole test stops & you fail. The parallel parking took me out in the first 10 minutes of my test. After years of being setback to even get to the road test, to finally having the opportunity only for it to be rained on, to finally have a real opportunity to take action nearly two months after but fail almost immediately, it was unbelievable to me. Superb job.
Both my father & I were disappointed in the loss. We were forced to reschedule again, which was another month from then. Parallel parking was our goal. And then sharpen everything else & we should be good.
I started job surfing online again applying to numerous jobs in hopes I’d hit a home run. I’d always assume when you hear nothing after a couple weeks, that meant they didn’t give a damn about your application. A simple “no” would be more fitting than nothing at all.
I was, however, informed of a local restaurant in development not too far from home. They were having walk-in interviews in which I was able to be present for not one, but two. They were considering me for the job & stated they would contact me in the next couple weeks as they had planned a grand opening. In between that, there was a job fair for a Marriott Residence Inn that was in development downtown. I was present to that just like a numerous amount of other people. It was mostly filled with full grown adults, men & women. It looked as though I was the youngest person there. I had my interview, & was told I’d be contacted in a couple weeks once again.
It was quite a shame to find out that none of those places ever opened.
I still wasn’t getting any responses from jobs I applied for prior to the interviews. And then, the lectures had returned to haunt me. No job, no income, no progress in life made. Well, I wasn’t quite broke. I still had my first full-time check from the hotel. But that was dwindling down by the weeks.
Family members gave me suggestions on where to work. But I didn’t want to listen. I grew selfish. I wanted to get things done on my own. I ignored their suggestions & still had some hope that something would fall into place. My way of thinking was often criticized because of the lack of progress being made by sitting & hoping rather than pushing myself out there everyday to get somewhere. Some words eventually…..broke me.
They were telling the truth. There was no progress being made. It felt like I had nothing to show for myself. Recent high school graduate hits the slums. Stuck between choosing to fight for college, or fight for the life he wanted to live without it. He believed there are ways to be successful without it. But how can success be made through negative progress?
And thats when the thought hit me, what if I were to find easy ways to make money. What if I were to…..no. No no why on earth would I ever even consider myself doing that?! Thats just what they want you to do. Its exactly what they’d expect from an African American. It’ll furthermore feed their stereotypical views. Steph, wake up!
The lectures were getting to me. I couldn’t believe I imagined myself doing what my family told me to never do. They would grow insane if they ever saw or heard of me doing so. So I went out for a walk. A walk that was much more than just a walk.
It was a gloomy & cloudy day towards the end of the summer. I kept the hood on my hoodie above my head & kept it moving. Tears began to flow down my face as I walked down the street & to the riverfront. I wiped them as people walked by me so they wouldn’t notice or ask what was wrong. I kept walking until I got to the very end of the boardwalk & then made a U turn to walk back. But I ended up walking toward an area that had a bench to sit. I sat for a bit with this sad song playing on repeat the whole time I was walking. I got up & stood before the railing & the water below & out came all the tears I had been holding in. I hadn’t cried that much since my eighteenth birthday. Nobody noticed the poor kid in a grey hoodie & sweatpants crying. And that was just how I wanted it to be.
Lost I was. It was certainly a rough start on this thing called “Life”. Crying about it would make no difference, but just relief myself from the emotions I had from everything that happened & everything that was said to me. Now I didn’t know how to feel. I returned home in what I felt like was a trance. I started applying to jobs online at random. Jobs I didn’t really even read details about. Submitted at least over 20 applications in just a couple hours. I stayed locked in my room majority of the time. Only came out to use the bathroom. My mother hadn’t seen my face in about three straight days despite living under the same roof. She was busy working all the time like I should be as well. Even my brother hadn’t seen my face either. And his room was literally next door to mine.
My brother noticed the trance I was in when he saw me. I didn’t speak, my face said it all. He reported it to mother who came to give me a reality check. Sitting & moping about my failure to make progress would furthermore make no progress. You gotta stand up. You gotta stand firm. You gotta build that drive & motivation to keep pushing. Because this thing called “Life” is all about living, working, & maintaining. And she was right.
I started receiving calls from jobs that I applied for. Some jobs were too good to be true, giving false advertisements about flexible hours & making such as over $500 a week as a customer service representative, the one that has you going door to door in neighborhoods to make sales. Some jobs were a tad be too far from home requiring the use of bus transportation since I still didn’t have my license. And with the buses always being a hit or miss for me, I didn’t want to face that struggle of being late again.
Friday, September 15th, 2017
Everything changed. Suddenly, on a random day of checking emails, I came across an email saying my application was viewed & an interview was requested. The place was the Chase Center on the Riverfront, a place that’s incredibly close to home. A great walking distance. I had absolutely no idea that I applied to that place.
The interview was set for the following week. I came in, dressed clean, & found that I applied for the job that I should’ve had before, but now stood before me new & improved. Banquet Server, but in a more bigger & fancier establishment, paid more that what I was making as a Crew Member/Trainer at McDonalds, definitely more than what I made as a Room Attendant at the hotel, & a bit more than the Banquet Serving job I could’ve had at the hotel. And to furthermore add fireworks to the parade, the paychecks are every week. That was like a bonus to me.
Everything I wanted was all in one. Dressing fancy, working in a big & classy establishment, serving food like I’m in a fancy restaurant, paid well & quick. I couldn’t believe it. When I was filling out paperwork, I sat & looked above.
“Did you do this?”. “Did you really answer my prayer?” I said.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse for me, just when I felt I was losing myself, just when my hopes were going down the drain thinking no progress would be made, he revitalized my spirit. He sent a blessing from above.
My life had only just begun. There was no reason why I should’ve began to think I was already a failure. I had lost my faith after all that had happened during the summer. But it had all came back with this job.
And so did my drive & motivation to push for success. He brought me to the path I asked for. And as I said in my prayer, I would follow that path.
Ever since I’ve been working here, I regained focus on my passions. Computer building, & writing. I was finally able to afford being able to build my very own computer. I ordered all the parts needed piece by piece, & was soon able to assemble them together myself. It was a dream come true. My uncle was my inspiration for me pushing myself to do this as he is an absolute expert with computers & have built his own several times. After working hard throughout the first few months & saving, it really paid off.
Gaming, which is one of my most favorite thing to do, played a great factor in its production. Now, I still have sense to not blow all of my hard earned money on the most expensive components just to get that 120% in gaming like hardcore gamers do. So everything fit the budget & it all works well. As long as you get your money’s worth, its all good.
And then we also have this blog I started back in April. With my passion for writing & dream of becoming an author revitalized, I have further pushed to chase that dream by using my blog as a way of me expressing myself & showcasing my writing talents. It started off as something small & something I’d go to here & there & make a post about things. But now I’ve driven myself to put more effort into expressing myself fully & unleashing the inner creativity my mind once had when I used to write my own stories. How I missed doing that so much. I fell off it completely during high school & i’m ashamed to have said that.
On Wednesday, November 8th, 2017, just nearly a week after my birthday, I succeeded in passing my DMV road test out of three total attempts. I passed each trial in one go. The parking & the driving. I finally held my own license after striving to get it for the past few years.
Everything has been looking up. I was given the biggest wake-up call in my life. The car accident, me losing jobs, me not gaining progress in life for several weeks, me losing myself, & then me resorting to a prayer in hopes that everything would be alright when all seemed not to be. We all have a story. Some have worser stories than others. But how you overcome those trial & errors is what matters the most. I have many years ahead of me still, but I was awakened to see my path. There is much that can grow out of this. I know it, he showed me there can be. It can happen if you just believe….