Sweet 16. Most kids remember this milestone birthday as the age they are finally able to drive solo. Nope. Not me. This birthday will go down as the one that launched my parents into a nagging campaign for me to… get a job. From the very day of my birthday into the weeks and months that followed I filled out countless applications at places where my friends worked. I went on interview after interview, but positions were already filled. A sixteen-year-old reject. That may sound a bit dramatic, but that’s how I felt. Well no need to feel bad for me. After what seemed like an eternity, I bounced back… literally. I landed a job at an indoor trampoline park, Outerlimitz, thanks to my friend Carrysa who worked there. It’s located in the heart of Orlando’s tourist district. Just like its name implies, Outerlimitz is extreme, from its multitude of trampolines to its clientele to its employees. I’ll share some of my experiences there, but if you are hoping for a little blood and gore, sorry to disappoint. There were never any serious injuries, at least not that I’m legally able to share…
My first day I walked in to see the trampolines filled with employees doing these insane flips. I’m thinking “Did I misread a critical question on the application?” Maybe there was some kind of requirement for the job like being a former Olympic gymnast. I figured if this was the case, I’d have to fake a shoulder injury. Luckily gymnastics wasn’t the most important skill for the job, but I’d soon find out ones that were.
Working at a trampoline park means you deal with high energy customers 24/7 and by high energy customers, I mean kids. Who doesn’t love kids? Well, eight hours of kids on trampolines could break even the Mother Teresas among us. Oh, and add a language barrier into the equation because half of the patrons were not English speaking. My primary responsibility on the job was to function as a “referee.” As such, I was to monitor the kids and make sure they avoided bodily harm while in my care. It was pretty eye-opening to me to witness the number of kids that would attempt to perform life-threatening feats simply out of “innocent curiosity.” More amazing was the fact that not only did these little daredevils walk away unscathed but they’d convince a friend to try to one-up them.
Part of the reason that I finally landed this job was because it came with a responsibility that most people consider a deal-breaker: cleaning bathrooms. At Outerlimitz, cleaning the girl’s bathroom was my responsibility. I was required to enter the bathroom every hour to make sure it was spotless. Every time I’d have to do this dirty deed, I’d embrace my inner mom, strapping on my rubber gloves and arming myself with Lysol. There were days when a birthday party would tear in and out of that bathroom and it would literally be destroyed in less than five minutes. However, I remember one particular day walking toward the bathroom and being hit by the foulest odor I have ever smelled. Girls were running from the bathroom like it was on fire. I covered my nose and mouth with my rubber gloves and proceeded to kick open stall doors one by one determined to discover where the smell was coming from. As I approached the last stall, I slowly opened the door with my foot to find what only can be described as the most disgusting thing I have ever encountered in my life. Smeared on the walls was sh*t. It looked as if someone had taken their child and wiped their little tush all over the walls, I stood there in disgust, yet slightly amazed at the effort it took to create this display.
Luckily, I didn’t have to clean that mess up by myself. Shout out to my amazing coworker Trenton. He took on the bathroom situation with me and helped me make that stall clean enough to pass the strongest black light test. And besides being an awesome person, Trenton is a worship leader and speaker with an incredible singing voice. He will praise the Lord anywhere at any moment and has the ability to get everyone around him to jump onboard and sing his praises too. For some inspirational videos, check him out on Instagram @thereal_trenten. In addition to Trenton, there were so many incredible coworkers and managers at Outerlimitz that made a huge impact on me. No matter the situation they had my back.
The takeaway of my story is simply that life (or your parents) will eventually push you to do things that aren’t ideal and at times may seem pretty sucky if not almost unbearable, but even in the sh*tiest of times, there’s usually something to be amazed at. And though it’s not the kind of amazement you may be anticipating it may not be entirely dull either. And don’t underestimate the effect of good people as their influences can make almost anything tolerable and perhaps even enjoyable. It’s up to you if you want to bounce.
All images courtesy of Giphy.