Letter to the Editor: Life Lessons From Pat's Pizza
A former employees shares her memories of Pat's Pizza.
Pat’s Pizza was never just a building or a place to work. Pat’s Pizza may be gone physically, but the heart of Pat’s Pizza will live on for generations to come.
Pat’s Pizza was my first job, handed down to me by my older sister, Erin. My first night at Pat’s Pizza, I thought I was getting interviewed; I had no idea that Karen Weinert, the manager of Pat’s Pizza, had already given me the job. At first, I stumbled, messed up the seating chart, and dropped many glasses of water and pizzas. Despite my clumsiness, however, Pat’s Pizza never gave up on me.
Soon, with the guidance of the waitresses, I gained experience at being a hostess and busboy, and later I became a server myself. I learned that the customers are the first priority.
I learned that after a while of calling me “Bob” or “Bill,” that Pat did know my name was Bridget and thought I was doing a good job. I didn’t merely learn restaurant skills at Pat’s Pizza, but also people skills and life skills. Pat’s taught me patience when there were 15 to 20 customers waiting to be seated and a full dining room.
Pat’s taught me that co-workers can be your best friends. Pat’s taught me that hard work is essential to living a fulfilled life. Pat’s taught me that no matter how much you mess up (or drop things), if you do it with a smile, a sincere and heart-felt apology and maybe a laugh or two, people will forgive you or laugh along with you.
Pat’s taught me that sometimes your boss may seem strict and tough, but in reality, he has a heart of gold. Pat was a protector; he had my back when things went wrong. It was on Pat’s 60th Birthday when he asked me to greet his friends and family, take their coats, and help Karen and Kellie with serving that I felt like I had an influential place at Pat’s Pizza.
I never left Pat’s Pizza without a smile on my face (or pizza in my stomach).
Karen Weinert and Kellie Schmidt, waitresses at Pat’s Pizza for over 20 years, guided me and trained me to be the best hostess/busboy/greeter possible.
I only worked at Pat’s Pizza for about four years. I could not imagine spending 20 years as a beloved waitress, manager, or family- member of Pat’s Pizza, and to have to say goodbye. To Kellie, Karen, and all of the other waitresses, you have changed my life; you are alllike mothers to me, but you are also my friends.
To “The Ladies” who ate at Pat’s Pizza for years at least two times or more per week, including every Friday (on which they brought delicious desserts), you have taught me what true friendship is. I hope to see you soon.
To my co-workers, you were and are my best friends. We pulled hilarious pranks, laughed about the craziest things and stood by each other no matter what. At the end of the night, most employees go home. The employees of Pat’s Pizza, however, would clock-out and stick around to order a pizza, talk with other workers or customers and have fun.
The employees at Pat’s Pizza spent time with one another, not because they had to but because they wanted to. Pat hired the type of people who love to talk, who are outgoing, who care about the customer, and who would do anythingfor their family and friends.
To the customers of Pat’s Pizza, especially the regulars, I will miss you. I will miss showing you my prom dress and asking your opinions; I will miss spending time talking with you about my college and career plans; I will miss seeing you smile and laugh while at Pat’s Pizza.
To Pat, DeAnn and Karen, I am so fortunate to have had you as bosses because now I have experienced the highest caliber and I will not settle for anything less.
Some people may not notice the disappearance of Pat’s Pizza; to others, their dinners during the week and weekend will be different; to even more people, their hearts will ache to have Pat’s Pizza back in business once again.
Right now, I am away at college and when I got the text that told me Pat’s Pizza had closed on a Thursday night, I was in shock. Now, I am still sad, but I know that Pat’s Pizza will continue with the friendships and relationships that we have
made with our co-workers, our employees, our customers, and our friends.
When I go back home and drive down 83 on the way to my house (a couple of blocks away from Pat’s), I will pass by and see an empty Pat’s Pizza that is not full of my favorite people. I will crave the best pizza inthe world, and realize that it is no longer being made. Then, I am sure, the shock will resume and I will have to accept that Pat’s Pizza is gone.
I wish that Pat and DeAnn had a chance to say goodbye to their beloved customers, friends, and family, and celebrate their 31-year anniversary of being in business, which was the very day after Pat’s Pizza had officially closed.
You can bet that I have a million epic stories about Pat’s Pizza, and so do others who have worked there. The stories and relationships will be passed on to our kids, to our grandkids,and to their kids and grandkids. The employees of Pat’s Pizza have already been talking about getting together this spring break or summer when we are all home, to reunite and catch up.
Pat, you may not feel like it now, but you succeeded. You succeeded beyond your wildest dreams. You made a local pizza restaurant with impeccable customer service, mouth-watering pizzas and food, and a homey, fun, family-friendly atmosphere. You created a legend.
Personally, I am very thankful for Pat’s Pizza.
Bridget A. Egan
University of Missouri-Columbia
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