Friday, March 9, 2012
When we were old enough, we were expected to get a job during summer vacations (in our younger years we went to various summer camps – I’ll talk about that, later.)
In addition to getting a job, we paid “rent” to our parents. We had the use of a car and usually ate at home. It wasn’t that they needed the money (however, feeding growing children does put a drain on a family budget – and it reinforced a valuable lesson.)
The “rent” was based on how much we earned; we generally paid $75 to $100 per month over the 3-month summer. It taught us the value of money and reminded us that stuff isn’t free.
One summer while in Kona, a friend from California stayed with us – we looked for jobs with similar schedules. We both got busboy jobs at the Kona Inn (it was still an operating hotel, back then – it’s now a shopping mall.)
Interisland Resorts gave us great training on customer service, table protocol, work ethic and responsibilities of work.
However, that job wasn’t enough to keep us going financially, so we continued to look for additional work. Nothing else was available – until we came up with a brainchild idea of being bellmen at the Kalanikai.
At that time, Kaliko Chun and her family owned and operated it as an apartment/hotel (it’s now an expanded condo project.)
One of the challenges with our idea was that Kalanikai did not have bellmen and had no intention of creating the job description.
Undeterred with this, we offered to work for free and would only get paid through tips. All we asked was that they let us know when the groups of guests were scheduled to come in, so we could work our Kona Inn schedule around that.
We created our own “uniforms”; actually, my mother sewed us matching aloha shirts.
It worked out great, we got added work (and spending money,) Kalanikai was able to better service their customers and guests did not have to lug their bags up to the second floor (with no elevators.) (I wonder if Kaliko remembers this – I’ll ask her the next time I see her.)
The over-arching lessons of these experiences was identifying needs and finding solutions to fill them, learning responsible work ethic and recognizing that things in life aren't free.
Of course the best part of the day, after working hard, was going down to Ocean View Inn for a chopped steak plate with three scoops of rice.
The image shows the Kona Inn as it used to be back then. It was a great place to work and seeing it always brings back good memories.