I managed a video store in college, back when that was a real thing. The store mostly employed teens. Back in those days the video store was crazy busy Thursday through Sunday night. One young girl that worked there was Jennifer. Jennifer was a Mormon. Jennifer stood out though, because she was bubbly, hard working, didn’t fudge her time card, and showed up at her shifts. I always had problems having the workers show up, especially on weekends. If they got a chance to go on a hot date or to go to some other fun outing, they would try to get out of work. Not Jennifer. If she wanted time off she gave me weeks and weeks notice or she arranged for someone to cover her shift. She never worked Sunday but instead worked a school night. She didn’t drink caffeine and she only ever brought in root beer with her lunch and we liked to give her a good humored ribbing about that. As a perk for working there, employees got to take home movies for free. Jennifer would never take home the R movies. Someone was always trying to get her to take home an R rated movie but she just smiled and chose something PG for her family.
Her mother came in sometimes, too to bring Jennifer lunch and to chat. She was a sweety. At the time, I think her brother was off in a foreign country on something called a mission. But we didn’t talk about it.
One Sunday just after opening. I got two phone calls in a row from two employees calling in sick. Hmm. I was alone. Once church was over, the store would become packed. No way could one person handle it. I quickly called ever employee and asked them to come in. Every employee had plans to go to the movies or water skiing or shopping. I finally called Jennifer. She reminded me that the Sunday was the Sabbath and she didn’t work on the Sabbath. Please? Please? Please? I begged. She said she would think about it and hung up.
The store was as busy as ever, and it was just me, the sole employee. But, about thirty minutes after I hung up the phone with Jennifer, in she came. She got right to work and was a very capable employee and in another half hour we had the store under control. We were busy but handling it. A few hours later traffic had dwindled enough where she pulled out lunches for both of us that her mother had made. “My mom knew we wouldn’t have time to leave the store.”
Toward the dinner hour, all was calm and I was able to handle the remainder of the night myself. She packed up to leave and was going to leave without signing out on her time card.
“Oh, I wasn’t here to work,” she said, “I was just here to help.”
No protest from me would convince her to sign in. “Nope!” she said, “it was fun. I was just glad I was here to help.”
As it turned out, the two employees who called in sick had gone water skiing. It always struck me as funny that the only one that I could get to work that day was a little Mormon girl who refused to get paid.
And that was Jennifer. I never ran into Jennifer again after the store eventually got pushed out by the bigger store, but Jennifer L. goes down as one of my favs and a good example of how we should treat others..