• 66°

Why can’t you just give me a job?

She was about 10 years old and fascinated by the man with the cell phone. He stepped to the right, she stepped over in front of him. He stepped back, and so did she.

“Excuse me,” he said. “I need to take a picture of that.” He pointed at the Coca-Cola sales cooler behind the girl who wore a shirt declaring she had been Student of the Month at her middle school recently. 

After moving aside, she pointed at the emblem on his polo shirt. “What’s that?”

“It’s the company I work for. I work for Coca-Cola,” he said.

“You work for who?” she asked.

“I work for Coca-Cola,” he repeated.

“You … work …,” she began, her eyes widening, “for … Coca-Cola?!?”

He laughed and nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Then hire me,” she said. “What do I have to do to work for Coca-Cola?”

“Well, you have to be 21,” he explained. When she asked why that had to be a requirement, he said it was just the way the company did things. He should know. He’s a manager.

“Why can’t you just give me a job?” she asked.

“Come see me when you’re 21,” he said.

He turned to the motherly figure standing nearby, smiling and shaking her head at what must not have been out of character for the girl.

“That’s good,” the man said. “She wants to work.”

“Mmm-hmm,” said Mom.

“What if I just say I’m 21?” the girl asked, undeterred.

“You can’t just say you’re 21,” the man answered. “You have to actually be 21.”

I chuckled, paid for my purchases and left. I missed whatever the rest of the conversation was, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t get a job with Coca-Cola that day.

But which of us doesn’t want our “dream job”?

Someone once said, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

I like my job, but I still haven’t found the one where I’ll never work a day in my life. It’s still work.

And that’s OK.

I am very grateful to be physically and mentally able to work. That wasn’t always the case.

Work is necessary, but work is also a privilege.

So, I hope this young lady does a couple of things now.

I hope she never loses her tenacity.

I hope she tosses aside the idea that she can “just say she’s 21” and it be OK — she was probably joking from the way she said it, but some people really believe that kind of thing.

I hope that she goes after what she’s passionate about — even if it is soda. I just finished a Coke myself.

I hope she always wants to work, is able to work and has opportunity and freedom to do so.

I also hope those positive attitudes are infectious.

Who knows? Come 11 years or so from now, that manager may look up when the knock comes at his office door to see a grown-up version of this young lady.

Remember me? How about that job?

Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.