What It's All About
There are times I wish everyone could take a sneak peek behind the scenes at Buckaroos, for there are moments that take your breath away. I think sometimes we all miss the sacred in our days, for it can be quiet and not flashy, but it is indeed present if we know how to look for it.
This past week several of us were witnesses to something that inspired us, and affirmed for us that what we are all creating at this small little "hole in the wall" is indeed important, and is about far more than merely making a pizza. We welcomed a new volunteer, and her name is Ali. Ali and our crew member Joe have been friends for long while, and Joe enjoyed working at Buckaroos so much that he kept urging Ali to come work with him. How wonderful to know he is so happy that he wanted to share the joy with his friend! Ali's mom contacted us, and at her mom's request she joined us as a volunteer staff member.
Ali is a terrific addition! She is eager to learn and work hard, and she jumped right in with confidence. Grinning from ear to ear the entire time, her soft gentle nature touched us all. I showed her around, giving her a tour of our facility and getting her a Tshirt and name tag, and then it was time to begin her training.
But what happened next taught me a lesson I won't soon forget. I decided that Joe should be her trainer, and I would simply guide from the side. After all, Joe knows the ropes, he has gained a lot of skills in the short four weeks he has worked with us, and the idea is to help each of our staff members mature, grow in their abilities, and learn to lead. Joe needs a little assistance, usually in the form of very brief prompts, in order to move through tasks. He runs the register but has someone else make change, he scoops ice cream, interacts well with customers, makes pizza, and preps food. Basically, he can do just about anything we ask! So, why not have him train Ali?
Learning how the oven works
Ali gloved up and put an apron on, and she and Joe tied each other's aprons in the back. Then, side by side, I stood back and watched as Joe taught Ali the basics of how to watch for bubbles on the pizzas in the oven, how to remove the pizzas carefully, and how to cut the pizzas.
Using a pizza wheel takes practice!
How patient he was, and how they delighted in being together! Ali was a quick learner, and did an outstanding job. No, not "an outstanding job for a disabled person", but an outstanding job. Period. Joe exhibited a confidence that has been growing, and he showed that he really has learned a LOT! It is important for all of us to be able to share what we know, we take pride in having gained certain skills, whether we are a CEO of a Fortunate 500 corporation, or a worker at a pizza parlor. Our employees are no exception...but seldom have some ever had the opportunity in their lives to truly supervise another person. Think about the first time someone turned to you to teach, or a manager asked you to train someone. Didn't you feel suddenly more accomplished? Didn't you take pride in knowing a task well enough that you were tapped to teach someone else? Of course you did! And...didn't it give you a little boost of self-esteem which bolstered you to tackle the next new thing?
This was a beautiful moment, and I learned that regardless of our perceived capacity, we can almost always do more than others...or even ourselves...think we can. I learned that there is more joy than I previously realized in mastering a skill and passing that knowledge on to others. I also learned that even a pizza and ice cream shop can be a container for very sacred, connecting experiences. Well, maybe I already knew that :-) but being reminded of it is always a gift.
Teacher and student
This is a real business and these are real people. Some of our staff struggle, some don't. ALL work hard, ALL care about doing a great job, ALL bring their own unique talents and personalities to share with others. It may surprise some that we not only "allowed", but encouraged and supported one "disabled" person in supervising and training another, but it shouldn't. If we removed the label "disabled", it would be a very normal thing to do, to have a more experienced employee work with a new one. Sure, Joe needed a little guidance (don't we all when learning how to train someone?), but he was able to share with another employee all that he had learned. As they made brownies, they counted 6 eggs together. He remember how to safely use the mixer and instructed Ali where to find the recipe. They dropped a couple slices of pizza...but then they both cleaned it up.
Our other employees, those who are more traditional learners, oh they are growing, too! As I have faded to the background intentionally, doing more behind the scenes work with accounting, marketing, networking, etc. they are leaning in, growing in compassion, learning how to supervise others, gauging how to encourage and not take over. The growth is happening all around us!
If the world could only be this way...helping each and every person succeed to the best of their ability, taking time and patience to allow for growth, being kind to one another, making space for everyone in the kitchen.
Well, our little corner of the world is this way. Our customers are more patient and thoughtful, our employees are tender and kind, and right inside that little yellow building is proof positive that the world can, indeed, function differently and more compassionately. We will make mistakes, some of us may never learn everything, but we cover for each other, we nurture one another, and we take putting out a terrific product very seriously.
And we know, watching Joe and Ali, that this is what we are all about. As a team, along with our great community of customers, we are creating a very special place where the world inside those walls is a wee bit more sensitive to the needs of others. We hope we offer that same experience to each and every customer who walks through the door...that we see you clearly and value you and what you bring to us as much as you value what we offer you.
Because one interaction at a time, we all can see that this is what it is all about.