Hello Fellow WOE Friends,,
I wish everyone in the Midwest a safe journey if you have to be in this Arctic blast, and please help those in need when you can.
Today's interview is with Craig, a server at the WOE Complex. Jennifer and I met him on my two week working vacation and he was one of the employee's who opened my eyes to what was happening at the WOE. If this interview looks familiar, it's because it's from the World of Entopia Story, my daily journal of that two weeks. If you love theme parks and entertainment, you may love reading about the World of Entopia and exploring the Complex.
Just a little context before the interview. Jennifer, Sally and I just left our suite and headed down to the Hotel Family Magic Water Park, which is located on the bottom three floors of the massive hotel. This is from Chapter 10, just in case you're interested. Hope you enjoy!
After our chill, we went back to our suite, changed and headed down to the water park. Sally headed to the slides while Jennifer and I ordered an adult beverage using a Touchpad Ordering Assistant (TOA). These water-proof TOA’s are located in the lounge areas of the water park. Just put your finger on it to sign in and order. You can order from a typical menu from a server if you wish, but most really appreciate the convenience of the TOA, because you never have to wait for the server to order. The alcoholic drinks will be billed to your account and are not expensive at all. But they do closely monitor how much you drink. Feel free to drink and get a nice “buzz” going, but after that, things will be slowed down. They don't want you “drunk” in the water park. They want you to keep your composure and be safe. Within a few minutes of us ordering, our drinks arrive; a server in his early 20’s delivered them.
“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Spout, my name is Craig. I have your drinks for you,” he said.
“Hi Craig, “I said, “nice to meet you. The service here is wonderful.”
“Thank you, sir. I’m glad to hear that.”
“How long have you been working here, if you don't mind my asking?”
“Four years now. This month is my anniversary.”
“That’s wonderful! Do you get anything special for your anniversary?”
“Yes sir! I get four paid days off, plus recognition at our employee’s monthly dinner and $400 cash to spend, as my gift.”
“Dang! That’s pretty good.”
“Yes, it is. I am so happy here.”
“I am interviewing employees here for WOE’s Tenth Anniversary and would like to interview you if you’d like?” I asked Craig.
“I’d love to tell my story.”
Before beginning to talk with me, he pulled out his transponder and hit the button “talking with a guest.” Just like Julie, the waitress we met Thursday, employees can feel free to talk with guests and not disrupt the service for other customers. The level of service is superior because the wait staff is not in a rush to serve you and move on. They don't need to worry about tips and how many tables or guests they must wait on. If guests want to talk, let them talk. Craig then pulled up a chair and told us his story.
“When I was sixteen, I had a part-time job washing dishes. I spent that money on my girlfriend, Jenny, and to buy marijuana. You know, when you smoke dope, you act like a dope. So, I made some pretty bad decisions while being high. One of them was my lack of attention at school. My studies were affected because I didn't study. My grades went down, and my girlfriend and I skipped a lot of school. I wound up getting her pregnant, and then things really started to get out of control. I had a tough time accepting the responsibility of being a father and started using more drugs, some serious, to escape. At eighteen, I was stealing money from my parents and friends and soon robbing others to pay for my addiction. I wasn’t there for my son or my Jenny. I dropped out of school and just became a bum with a few arrests under my belt.
Since I was an only child, my parents were devastated. They tried getting me into treatment several times, but I would always run-away part-way through. I could hear my mom crying at night and my parents fighting over how to handle me. It got so bad that I wound up hanging around a few people that were even worse for me. They would supply my habit if I did their dirty work.”
“I would rob stores and people and give them all the money. I stayed at their place, and I was told that if I ever tried to leave, they would kill my parents. This went on for over six months. I had no phone and no way to contact my parents to let them know where I was. They kept me high enough for me not to care about anything too much.”
“One night, I was awoken by a female’s blood-curdling scream, the kind you know is horrible. I went to go find out what was going on but was confronted by one of the people keeping me captive. He pointed a gun at me and told me to go back to my room and mind my own business. As I went back to my room, the screaming kept going on, for at least ten minutes; then it was just her crying and begging for them to stop. I heard the girl cry for her mom and dad repeatedly. It was the toughest night of my life and one that would change my life.”
“As the night rolled on, her voice became quieter, and I soon fell asleep. The next morning, I walked out of my room and didn't see anybody at home. All the rooms were empty. Without giving it any thought, I went to the front door and opened it. I didn't see any vehicles in the driveway. So, I took off running, as fast as I could down the road. I saw this blue car coming up the road and ran up to the driver’s side window. The driver stopped, and I asked if he could help me.”
“He immediately said to get in, and I locked the doors. As we drove off, I ducked down so no one could see me. He told me his name was Jay and that he would help me. He lent me his phone, and I called my parents. My mom answered and immediately began bawling as soon as she heard my voice. I told her I was okay, and I would see her soon. She kept telling me how much she loved me and how excited she was that I was okay.”
“Jay took me to this private home, where I met several other people. I washed up and was given clean clothes and a nice meal. Soon, we were all in the living room, where I shared my story. I told them I would never use drugs again because I was too scared, and I was worried about my parent’s safety.”
“Jay scooted to the end of his seat and looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Craig, you and your parents are safe now. We’re here to help.’ I asked Jay who they were, and he said, “we’re good people looking to help others.’ I stayed at that house for three weeks. They helped me through the withdrawals and helped mend me back into a decent human being. My parents were brought over to see me several times, as well as my son and Jenny. On their last visit, my parents, son, and Jenny were visiting when Jay said to Jenny and me, ‘How would you both like to work for the WOE? We can provide everything you need; jobs, medical care for you, and your son; housing, education, everything.’ Jenny and I couldn't believe what we were hearing and said ‘Yes!’ immediately. My parents were so happy, they started crying because they knew we were going to be just fine.”
“I asked Jay how he could do this, and he said he was an Employee Scout for the WOE and the other people helping him were also employees. Fast forward Four plus years later, and here I am. I finished high school here, my girlfriend, Jenny, is now my wife and my son is Six and attending First grade here on property. We have our own apartment and are doing great! We are both taking college classes to earn a degree. Jenny now works in housekeeping. We both love our jobs and everything about this place.”
I asked Craig what happened with the charges from the robberies, the other people that kept him captive and that girl that he heard screaming that night.
Craig said, “They took care of the charges by saying they would take care of me. So, the state dropped all the charges. I asked about the people who kept me captive, and they said they had disappeared and were never seen again. As for the girl, they said it may have been a nightmare because no one was reported missing. I am so grateful, and so is Jenny. My son is everything to us and doesn't know about anything that happened.”
“I enjoy being a server. I get moved around every few months to a different area for a change of pace. Once I hit so many hours in college credits, I will be given time to work in other areas like engineering, which is what I’m thinking about doing as a career. Both of us work thirty hours a week and then take nine credit hours in classes. We get paid for forty hours, and all our expenses are covered. Jenny is studying to be a teacher.”
I asked Craig if there was any contract or specific time they had to stay there to repay them for the college courses or housing.
“Nope, we can leave at any time, even with the money in our pocket form our savings. But why would we want to? We love it here and plan on retiring here with a house,” he said.
Jennifer asked how his parents were doing.
“They’re doing great. In fact, we took our four anniversary days off to go visit them. They are so happy for us and come here on vacation to see us and have fun.”
“You know,” said Craig, “I love telling my story. It gives me an opportunity to tell others that there are still good people out there and they do help those in need.”
I asked Craig if he felt meeting Jay was an accident or planned.
“I was told our meeting was a coincidence,” said Craig. “Jay once told me, ‘many people want to work for the WOE, but some deserve to work for them, and some need to work for them.’”
Thanks for reading! Until next time,