One morning I woke up to a call from a coworker crying and
telling me to drive to the restaurant immediately. I slipped some jeans on and half-awake drove to meet her. Outside was everyone who I worked with. “We are closed, you have two options. You can stay and help us close with will give you one more paycheck or you can leave and find another job.” Being I was barely making enough to by the ingredients for dinner, I did both. I stayed to help them
close while finding a Full-Time job at a bar waitressing. Staying and helping this company close was my ticket to Maple Street. I didn’t know it at the time but that decision changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
A month or so after starting this new waitressing job I received a call from Gus Evans. A man with a deep, rough and intimidating voice leaving me a voice mail about a job opportunity. Gus let me know that my old General Manger was his neighbor and recommended me to him. I thought this over. I just got a Full Time job at this bar and was making more in tips in a couple of hours than I did in a week at my former job but, I also hated the environment. Ultimately, I decided to call Gus back and schedule and interview.
What would it hurt to go visit the place and decide afterwards on how to move forward?
My interview was in San Marco, a place I had never been to.
Immediately I feel in love with the area. San Marco reminded me of Stars Hollow in one of my favorite shows, Gilmore Girls. This interview already started out better than I had expected with that alone. As I walked into the store I noticed a small chalk board sign. “The biscuit boys are coming to town”, who in the world are the biscuit boys? I’ve never heard of them. As I walk in I was met by Mr. Moore, everyone calls him Scott or Mr. Scott but I refuse, who would be interviewing me. He let me know that Gus had to leave to take care of something and that he would be stepping in to talk to me. To be honest, I am not sure what happened next in these conversations. I was too wrapped up in all
that was around me. It was a disaster. There were tiles everywhere, paint
buckets, and equipment was scattered everywhere. It was amazing. It was tiny and had an open kitchen. Exactly what I had dreamed about opening myself. I was sold. I didn’t need anything else. I would love to say that Mr. Moore convinced me with his interview skills and wonderful concept but it wouldn’t be true. It was all the building and atmosphere there. Even though I was in amazement of my setting, it was an interview. I believe in honesty and let Mr. Moore know my plans. “I would love to help you open and learn more of how you got to this
point, but I can only commit to a few months.” I didn’t believe that without tips I would be able to get my life back on track so committing to more than a couple of months meant risking getting further into debt and relying more on others to help me, something my pride couldn’t handle. Mr. Moore’s response was an automatic laugh. Somehow, he knew better and I am so thankful he did.
Fast forward to opening day of Maple Street and I was considering how big of a mistake I made committing to helping open a restaurant with people who didn’t know how to work the equipment we had. It was chaos, terrifying and you could feel it in the kitchen. I can’t stand knowing others are nervous or that they feel too much pressure. That feeling of making sure others felt better took over my fear of making a bad decision and I went into action. I started singing and maintained a smile all through the day to hopefully make my mood contagious to others. At the end of the day, I went home and talked about my experience that day. Talking through the scenes made me recognize something I didn’t think about while I was in the moment. Yes, we had Gus and Mr. Moore there working with three employees who had been hired on. But even more important than that was all the people working with us who weren’t
employed. Their friends and families all pitched in and was elbows deep in the action, washing dishes to serving the food. If they have so much love surrounding them like this. I had to give them another chance.
A month into work at Maple Street I had received a few raises. Although these helped me I still had quite a bit to catch up on. This reflected in my attire. I refused to purchase a new pair of shoes until I absolutely felt I had to. Eventually this became noticeable no matter how hard I tried to cover it up. One day Mr. Moore yells out to me from the front door, “Harrelson, come talk a walk with me.” The only things going through my head is what did I do? Why am I about to be fired? I thought I was doing a good job? Meanwhile, Mr. Moore is walking and talking about who knows what. My mind was racing too much to comprehend words he was saying. As we kept walking down the street he came to a sudden stop which jumped my attention to him. “Oh look, toms are on sale. Let’s go in and look.” We walk in with Mr. Moore leading me to the section of the store with toms on the wall. “What size are you? Do you
like this color?” I was amazed. I barely know this man. Yes, I have worked with him for a month now but he doesn’t really know me. Why would he do this? There
has to be a catch. I replied to him that even though I greatly appreciate it, there was no need to buy me a pair. He smiled and let me know it would mean a lot to him if I gave him the opportunity to help me. Against my pride I picked
a pair out in my size and told him thank you. He smiled and told me if I ever needed anything or any help to let him know. I have been lucky in life to meet amazing and wonderful people but you still have in the back of your mind that there must be some deeper motive to their kind actions. With Mr. Moore, it is so simple that it is hard to believe. He genuinely is just a good person. After the Toms day I knew that my decision to stay working with Maple Street was the right choice. Not because he bought me shoes, but because he noticed I needed them and helped me without expecting anything in return. The best example of
Gracious Service I can think of.
A few months later I unfortunately was still struggling to catch up with my debts. I received a call letting me know if I didn’t pay $850 to my bank that they would repo my car. At the time, I didn’t know how to call but I needed my car so that I could work. I remembered what Mr. Moore said and took a chance. I gave him a call and briefly told him my situation. He responded with telling me his address and asking me to come meet him at his home. When I pulled up to his house he met me at the door and walked me inside.
His wife and daughter were in the kitchen and said hello as Mr. Moore led me to his then office. He sat at his desk after pulling my seat out for me to sit. If you met Mr. Moore you would quickly understand his is gentleman through and
through. I once saw him without him knowing I was even in the building, walk a stranger to her car with an umbrella on a rainy day. It’s just who he is. Sitting at his desk I had tears in my eyes. Asking for help like this is embarrassing especially from my current boss. He slid a piece of paper to me that he had typed up for me to sign. It stated that he would give me the amount I needed in full with the agreement that I would pay him back little my little each paycheck. At this point I felt my chin buckling as I fought back my tears. He looked at me and said something that I can never forget. “One day you will be on the other side of this table.” I left his house promising myself just this.
In June of 2014 I found out I would be opening my own Maple Street. June happens to be my birthday month so I left on a quick trip to celebrate my birthday and the new adventure I would have. During this trip, in Mr. Moore fashion, Mr. Moore called me numerous times to update me on progress and keep me in the loop. He called a lot. It meant more to me than he could ever know. He made sure I knew all the aspects of my store, he made me feel so important that he called me just to run things by me because I was his partner in this. In one of these calls he asked me an important question. “What do we name your store?” He through some names at me and told me that it was up to me. I would get to decide. “Harrelson and Moore, having the honor of my name with yours would mean a lot to me.” For the years I ran that store, every piece of mail had Harrelson and Moore LLC addressed on it. A constant reminder to me of the partnership I would get to have for the rest of my life.
In the Maple Street story, you will hear all about who we are, what we do, and why we do it. I could tell you of all the times I made an impact in my community and the ways I engaged with my teams but my story is more than just the many friendships I have made in the last 5 years or the work we have done to grow our stores. My story is about the man who saved my life in more ways than one. Not because he helped me financially or
because he gave me opportunities to grow, but because he remained who he is to the fullest no matter what. A good man with the heart big enough to take a 21 year old lost kid and make her feel at home.
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