Lessons From KFC What My First Job Taught Me About Humanity
When I think about my summers growing up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, I can’t help but be transported back to 1991 in my little red Ford Festiva — thanks for the first car, Mom and Dad! — cruising down the main drag with my friends. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime”was playing on the radio, and my friends and I didn’t have a care in the world. Of course, gas was not free, so summertime also reminds me of my very first job: working at KFC.
The job was not glamorous, and I’ll never forget standing in the heat of the kitchen. I wasn’t allowed to work the fryer since I wasn’t 18 years old, but I was often serving customers and packaging their meals. I learned the value of hard work and appreciating the money you earn, especially when I later used my KFC money to pay for a massive phone bill I’d received for calling my best friend, Nanci, who’d moved to St. Louis! Yes, there were many lessons learned in that little brick building. During this pandemic, I’ve been reminded of my experiences in the food industry and just how essential these jobs are to our daily lives. I can still remember our regulars who would sometimes come in for nothing more than a cup of coffee and a biscuit. At the time, I didn’t think much about them, but today, I realize that our interactions may have been important to these customers. Perhaps we were the only people they would talk to that day. Maybe an outing to KFC was one of their few activities, or maybe this interaction was something small that brought them joy. Having that routine and point of contact may have been valuable for these customers.
Then there were my coworkers: people of all different races, genders, ages, and other backgrounds. It was just so curious to me. I often wondered how we’d all come to work at this same KFC. More surprising and wonderful was the way in which I learned that you can’t make any assumptions about what people know based on these backgrounds. I vividly recall being schooled on Marvin Gaye’s career by a middle-aged manager who happened to be white. My experiences in the workplace helped me realize that there are myriad reasons why people come to their line of work, and you can learn lots from people if you’re open to the possibility that they know something you don’t. These lessons may seem silly or trivial, but there are plenty of other little snippets I picked up in the few months I was at KFC. As I’ve grown, I’ve seen how powerful these connections are. When I began my nursing career, I learned the value of my interactions with others from the people I worked with and served, too. I had a patient who would say, “It takes all kinds of people to make the world.” At that KFC and during my “Summertime” summer and Ford Festiva years, I had the privilege to meet and work with people who have made a lasting impression on me. Those are lessons I’ll never forget.
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A MEAL FOR EVERY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY MEALS ON WHEELS GOES THE EXTRA MILE
Meals on Wheels doesn’t often get the credit it deserves. The international nonprofit ensures those who are unable to buy or make their own meals get the food they need to survive. Of course, for many recipients, the efforts of the organization go far beyond “survival.” For those who receive food daily or weekly, those deliveries may be their only source of social interaction. And during times of social distancing, the program became more important than ever. Meals on Wheels doesn’t just serve meals to the elderly and people with disabilities — it also serves those people’s pets. In 2019, Meals on Wheels Atlanta realized there was a huge need in their community to feed the pets of senior citizens. It stands to reason that if an elderly individual is unable to shop or cook for themselves, their pets may be in a similar predicament. And when someone’s pet is their entire world, making sure the animal is fed and healthy means everything.
community. When volunteers made their rounds delivering meals to seniors, they made sure to bring cat and dog food along too.
One volunteer with Meals on Wheels Atlanta, Larry Auberbach, had a unique experience delivering meals to Jeffery Jones and his dog, Grizzly. The volunteer told 11Alive News in Atlanta that Jeffery and Grizzly “have their own special relationship.” Larry loved Grizzly long before Meals on Wheels Atlanta started the pet pantry because he saw how much Grizzly’s companionship meant to Jeffery. Now, Larry enjoys his service that much more since he gets to provide for Jeffery’s beloved pet, as well. On top of delivering food to seniors and their pets, Meals on Wheels Atlanta also delivers pet toys and pet beds, and they are happy to take in any pet-related food or items for donation. The organization says this endeavor was done out of love, not only for the people they serve but also for the whole family — wagging tails, fuzzy whiskers, and all.
In response to this need, Meals on Wheels Atlanta began stocking up on cat and dog food, creating their own pantry to serve the local pet
BEWARE OF THESE CORONAVIRUS EMAIL SCAMS They’re Still Around!
While it seems like the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic might be behind us, that doesn’t mean we should let our guard down completely — especially when it comes to internet scams designed to prey on the fear and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. It’s no surprise that scammers have found ways to use the coronavirus scare as an opportunity to steal personal information from the vulnerable. Fortunately, you can spot coronavirus scammers using the same techniques that help identify otherwise run-of-the-mill phishing scams. REQUESTS FOR PERSONAL INFORMATION When the federal government started distributing relief checks, several scammers sent out unsolicited emails, disguised as legitimate instructions, asking for personal information from people in order to receive their $1,200. Since many people have now received their checks, this particular scam may become less common, but always be suspicious of emails that ask for personal information, no matter the circumstances. SUSPICIOUS LINKS AND EMAIL ADDRESSES During the past few months, people’s email inboxes have been littered with advertisements for fake coronavirus tests and cures, fake alerts from government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and fake coronavirus updates. If you get an email containing an unusual link in your inbox, do not click on it — even if the email address looks
legitimate. Scammers use links to spread malware on computers, which helps them get your personal information.
SPELLING AND GRAMMAR MISTAKES This is usually a dead giveaway. While genuine, official updates about the coronavirus will be meticulously checked for spelling and grammar,
scammers aren’t as careful. Missing periods, misspelled words, and wacky syntax errors are all hallmarks of scam emails. Make sure you carefully read any email you’re not sure about.
If you can spot spelling and grammar mistakes, delete the email. Much like the coronavirus will remain in the American psyche long after cases and deaths have peaked, scammers will
continue using it as a means to steal from honest, hardworking Americans. But, if we keep our guard up, we can make sure they get absolutely nothing from their efforts.
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TAKE A BREAK
KNOCK KNOCK! WHO’S THERE?
The Wacky Evolution of the Knock-Knock Joke
Knock knock! Who’s there? Theresa. Theresa who? Theresa crowd!
Unless you’re living under a rock, odds are you’ve laughed, grumbled, or groaned in response to a knock-knock joke. You may have even told a few yourself before you realized knock-knock jokes had gone out of style in favor of sarcasm and memes. That’s because at their core, knock-knock jokes are a quintessential American experience — and the perfect homegrown fodder for International Joke Day, which falls on July 1. But where did they come from, and why do so many people knock the knock-knock joke today? Well, according to NPR, knock-knock jokes have had a roller coaster of a history. Near as we can tell, they actually evolved from another kind of joke: the “Do You Know” joke. This style of joke was popular in the early 1900s, and according to an Oakland Tribune article NPR dug up, this was a typical one:
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Not very funny, is it? Well, over the years this style of back-and- forth jesting evolved into knock-knock jokes. The popularity of the “knock knock” bit of the joke could harken back to Shakespeare, who BestLife credits with “the first-known occurrence of a knock knock, who’s-there dialogue” in Act 2 of “Macbeth” (though it likely wasn’t intended to be funny), or it could be a reference to 1936 vice-presidential hopeful Frank Knox, whose name made “knock knock” irresistible wordplay for the radio. Whatever the reason, knock knocks were all the rage in the 1930s, to the extent that people formed knock-knock clubs, businesses held knock-knock contests, and orchestras set them to music. However, the heyday was short-lived. In the following years, people started getting sick of knock knocks, and even psychologists turned against them. According to NPR, “people who loved knock- knock jokes were said to have social problems.” Today, knock-knock jokes are still around, but they’re mostly considered a game for kids or demoted to the realm of “bad dad jokes.”Maybe you think that’s warranted, maybe you think it’s tragic — either way, odds are the format will continue to evolve and probably outlive us all!
1 tsp salt
onion, red bell peppers, baby carrots, and yellow squash are great on the grill)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
5 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 lbs assorted vegetables, trimmed and halved (asparagus, mushrooms, red
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic. 2. Brush vegetables with olive oil and place in a large bowl. Top with lemon juice and seasoning mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes but no longer than 2 hours. 3. Prepare the grill at medium-high heat. 4. Grill vegetables in batches, cooking 3–5 minutes on each side until browned and tender. (Carrots will cook longer, 6–9 minutes per side.) 5. Remove from the grill, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
1 2 3 4
KFC, the Fresh Prince, and a Ford Festiva
HowMeals onWheels Atlanta Stepped Up for Its Community How to Spot a Coronavirus Scam Email
The Secret to Delicious Grilled Veggies The Wacky Evolution of the Knock-Knock Joke
What Does the Constitution Mean to You?
WHAT DOES THE CONSTITUTION MEAN TO YOU? Debating the Document That’s Shaped Our Country
Most teenagers are more interested in hanging out with their friends and listening to the next cool band than diving into the United States Constitution. But that’s exactly how some students have been spending their mornings, afternoons, and evenings: studying and preparing to debate their peers all over the nation about the contents of the 200-year-old document. Their motivation? Prestige, honor, and thousands of dollars of scholarship money. Sponsored by the American Legion, these constitutional debates were started in 1938 with the intent to “develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students,” according to the Legion’s website. In the process of writing the speeches they’ll debate, students under 20 learn the history of U.S. laws and develop a better understanding of the rights and privileges of American citizenship. The legion offers up over $188,000 annually in scholarship money to debate winners. For one of those winners, in addition to helping pay her way through college, the debate experience also provided fodder for a Broadway play. In “What the Constitution Means to Me,” playwright and actor Heidi Schreck recounts her experience of debating the Constitution in American Legion halls all over the U.S. In the largely autobiographical play, theatergoers get to see the experience through the eyes of
15-year-old Heidi (played by Schreck in the original production) as she gives her speech and talks about the Constitution. At other times,
viewers see the grown-up Schreck reflect on the evolution of the Constitution’s meaning over the years and how her debate experiences shaped her understanding of what it means to live under the rules of this governing document.
For Heidi Schreck, as well as for hundreds of other debaters, developing a
close relationship with the Constitution helped pay her way through college and gave her a better understanding of the principles our country was built on. This month is a great time to take a look at the document that shaped our country’s past
and continues to shape its future.
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