Too Good to Be True
By Kate, age 18, New Hampshire
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
Many of us have jobs. Some of us love our jobs, and some of us don't, but it's money, right?
I have been through a few jobs already. I've worked at the JC Penney Portrait Studio, an amusement park, and more recently, a little sub/pizza shop near my home. Of all my years of working, that little pizza shop has been my favorite job. The people were great, my boss was easygoing, and I actually enjoyed going to work. But recently, a chain of events happened that has forever changed not only me, but the other people I work with.
When you think of a job, you think of the money you will make, the people you will work with, and the hours you will work. No one thinks anything bad about having a job. Maybe it's time to realize that not everything is what it seems. Some things are just too good to be true.
I was recently transferred from one pizza shop to another, both owned by the same person, Chuck*. There are a total of four shops in the area, all owned by Chuck. At the first one, my manager was a total jerk to me. A manager from another store noticed this and decided he wanted me to work with him instead. So that's how I came to the other store.
The manager there, Josh, was so nice. Whenever I needed a day off or couldn't come in, he was totally fine with it and was always willing to cover for me. The people I worked with were all really cool too, and I quickly became close to them.
Then one night, after my shift, Josh asked me if I wanted to come upstairs and hang out. Josh, along with two other people who work at the shop, Melissa and Frank, live above the shop. Melissa (being close to my age) and I had gotten really close, so I decided to go up and hang out before leaving for the night.
Upstairs they started smoking weed and offered me some. I have a few friends who have smoked weed and do it regularly. I never have because I never really cared. But I figured it wouldn't hurt to at least give it a try. I wanted to see what it was like. Really, I wanted to be able to say no to other offers and at least have a reason. Kind of like food you don't like, like when your mom says, "Eat your pickles," and you claim you don't like pickles. "Have you even tried them?" your mom asks. No, you haven't. So you can't really say you don't like them, right?
So I took a few hits and I coughed a lot, as most people do. I didn't get high the first time, and I don't think anyone does the first time. To me, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. I didn't really care either way.
So Josh started mixing some drinks for me to try. Again, I had the same theory. Why not? I knew I wasn't going to get trashed. I would force myself to stay sober - I still had to drive home.
So I tried some of the mixtures. Most of them were pretty good and didn't taste like alcohol at all. But when he offered more than I wanted, I politely passed, and he didn't fuss. Josh was way too nice to be that kind of guy.
I did this a few different nights, just hanging out and trying a few drinks. I tried a few more hits, but I made sure I stayed sober.
One day during work, Josh pulled me aside and asked me if I would go to dinner with him. I didn't know what to say - I was shocked. Josh is thirty years old, and at the time, I hadn't quite reached my 18th birthday. So I told him I would think about it, not really knowing what else to say.
Then one day, the day before I was about to go on vacation, the shop owner, Chuck, called me. He'd found out about the smoking and drinking, and spent a good five minutes yelling at me and telling me how disappointed he was. I didn't care. Why should I? It's not like I was addicted, and when he called, it had been weeks since I even did anything. I knew I wouldn't turn into some alcoholic druggie, but he didn't.
While I was on vacation, I called Josh to see how things were going. He said Chuck had given him a verbal and written warning, and then fired him. Was it my fault Josh lost his job? I felt like sh** and I did not look forward to going back to work. But I did, and things seemed pretty normal, minus Josh, of course.
Nick was the new manager. He didn't talk to me much. He was nothing like Josh, but Josh still lived upstairs, so I still saw him every now and then.
Then one day in the middle of July I worked with Chuck. It was a hot day and I had just come in from hanging out with friends. Like any girl in the summer, I was wearing shorts and a tank top. There has never been a dress code there, so I wasn't worried about anything.
But as soon as I walked in, Chuck kept making comments about how I was "practically naked" and that I might as well "take my pants off." One customer said, "You can deliver to my house anytime, baby."
I was disgusted. It was like they had never seen a woman before. I knew this was Chuck's way of joking, but he quickly went too far. "So, did you sleep with Josh yet?" he would ask. He continued to sexually harass me and comment on my supposed relationship with my ex-manager.
I had had enough. I finally blew up at him, saying he didn't know me and had no right to say the things he was saying, and I walked out of the store. Melissa offered me a T-shirt so I wouldn't feel like every guy was staring at my chest, and she let me vent and cry. Soon Chuck left, and once the tears were gone, I returned to work.
As the night went on, Josh made an appearance in the store and motioned for me to go outside with him. Outside he told me I should file a sexual harassment complaint against Chuck. Was Chuck really the worst of my worries?
I was angry and upset at what he'd said about me and Josh, but what if it was true? Josh was the last person I wanted to talk to and I made that clear. He brought up something about how he was fired and made it sound like it was my fault. That was the last straw and I blew up at Josh too.
Inside the store, I had started a new batch of tears. Nick pulled me aside and asked me what had happened. I explained to him about what Josh had said. Nick told me the real reason he was fired.
Apparently, Josh had come down one day and bragged about how he'd "had a date" with me and how he wanted to get laid. Nick said the only reason he had me come to this store was so he could get into my pants. Chuck had later called and explained that Josh just wanted to get me trashed so he could use me.
Could Josh really be that kind of person? The guy who had always looked out for me and willingly covered for me when I needed it? I couldn't believe any of this was happening.
Not long after, Melissa came in crying. Josh had flipped out at her and kicked her out of the house. He then came down and started yelling at Nick and threatening all of us. I had been warned that he had a temper, but had never witnessed it myself. Who was this person?
The store was dead, so Melissa and I headed outside to talk and calm down. A cop happened to show up, a regular at the store, and Nick explained the situation to him. Nick assured me that he wouldn't let Josh lay a finger on me. Yet, as I told the story to Melissa, she denied it. She said it was all just rumors. How could she stick up for someone who had kicked her out of the only place she had? And who was I supposed to believe?
I had been given so many different stories. How was I to know which one was right? I had no reason not to trust Melissa, but maybe she didn't see the events that Nick had seen. I had no reason not to trust Nick either. He was a fully grown man with a daughter of his own, and he clearly hated the fact that Josh was trying to get with me.
I trusted them both, but at the same time, I didn't. After all the months of working with these people, befriending them, and trusting them, I was suddenly left empty. In one night, everything came crashing down and I felt so utterly worthless. I was sick to my stomach. I didn't know what to do.
And just as quickly as it started, it ended. The cop left. Josh stayed upstairs with Melissa and Frank, and I returned for the last hour of work to help clean.
Chuck called a few more times to see if I was okay and to talk to Nick. How could I not trust people who seemed to care so much about me? But Josh was one of those people, and I couldn't trust him.
I couldn't even ask him if what Nick had said was true. He would just deny it. And what if it really wasn't true? I couldn't trust him. I didn't know what to believe anymore. But I had more trust in Chuck and Nick than I did in Josh at that moment. They didn't want me to get hurt, and that was clear.
They all suggested I get a restraining order on Josh and take him to court. They also said Josh would no longer be living upstairs and that I would be safe if I wished to continue working there. I had mentioned before that I wanted to quit. They explained that they didn't want to see me leave because of this, though they did understand.
In the end, I decided to stay for another month before college started. I needed every bit of money I could get to pay for college, and bills as well.
I haven't been back since that night, as it was my last day of the week, and I don't know what else has been going on, if anything. I will go back in a few more days. Hopefully, things will be a little calmer, and I won't run into any more problems with Josh. I don't want to go through the trouble of going to court and getting a lawyer, but I don't think that's something I have to worry about right now.
I never thought things would turn out like this. I was so happy working there and I had a lot of fun. I had good friends and it just seemed perfect. I guess you never know what kind of people you will run into. It hurts to know that I had trusted people like that and was betrayed by them. No matter what kind of job you have or where you work, you will never really know anyone.
I know now that not everyone can be trusted, no matter how nice they may seem. If a stranger offered you candy, you wouldn't get in a car with them because they were nice. It seems like all the things you were taught as a kid you are still being taught. I guess that's just a part of life.
* Names have been changed.