At the Woman's Foodservice Forum conference in D.C. this week one of the presenters challenged the group to find a 16 year old mentor. I thought the concept was cool and it reminded me of my best mentor of all times Antwan, a 17 year old grill cook at McDonalds.

My first day taking over the restaurant a fight broke out between a customer and my counter employee. It started to get ugly when my employee threw a shake at the customer and the customers fired back a wooden straw holder that ended up in a fry vat. Needless to say I fired the employee and three of her friends that were working the shift followed her out the door. Antwan, a smart a$# teenage grill cook laughed at me as I fumbled my way through the POS keys as I was now the counter gal "would you like that supersized?" I wanted to fire him for taunting me but I wasn't that brave and I knew that meant being the cook too! Antwan came in everyday and was literally all I had. Still I secretly thought he was a punk and fantasized about the day I would be staffed enough to "can" him. One day out of the kindness of his heart (or maybe he was just over me screwing up the schedule) he pulled out a bus schedule and showed me why people weren't coming in on time. That day some genuis came over me and I asked Antwan about 100 questions. I learned more that day than during my entire training. Antwan went on to teach me everything I needed to know about the urban area we were located in and the team members I had. In exchange I inspired him to get into Management. Uninvited, I brought him to every "big dog" meeting we had. And despite the owners shared initial impression that Antwan was a punk he soon became his number one fan.

Antwan, may say I changed his life but I say he changed mine. I believe powerful lessons come in small packages. I'm on the market for another Antwan to mentor me!

amanda hite
founder and change agent
Talent Revolution

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Tags: Generation, Hite, Y, amanda, mentor

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Comment by Amanda Hite on April 18, 2008 at 3:58pm
Unfortunately over the years we lost contact. I'd be thrilled to run into him again. I can picture it now I'm in the final stages of interviewing for my next job and this last interviews with the CEO that I'll be reporting to and it would be him...... How cool, I wonder if he'd hire me? (smile)
Comment by Adam R. Cox on April 18, 2008 at 2:11pm
So where is he now?
Comment by Steve Totillo on April 18, 2008 at 11:18am
This is yet another example of why people look up to you and aspire to be like you! It's inspiring just knowing you. You're awesome, thank you for being you.

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