When I left school at 15yrs old I was encouraged to work in an office – I hated it! Mum said I could hand in my month’s notice on condition I found another job before the month was up. “What do you want to do?” asked a friend “I don’t really know, something to do with machinery or something, I’ll know when see it”.
I had interviews here and there, nothing appealed, the month was nearly at an end. The same friend “Have you found a job yet?” when I replied that I hadn’t she jokingly said that they wanted a petrol pump attendant at the garage where her brother worked. Light bulb moment! “That’s it!” I cried.
I found the garage and spoke to Mick the manager, he rubbed his chin thoughtfully “Well I hadn’t thought of a girl duck, but I suppose we can give it a try” I started work the next week.
Although I was painfully shy and very nervous I felt a thrill of excitement. Mick warned me that some cars are back to front, having the engine in the back so when a man drove in, lifted the bonnet, walked off saying “Fill her up love” I thought “Uh huh, a back to front one” and guessed he was off to chat about horses to Mick, as they often did.
I looked up from filling with petrol to see the man walking towards me with a shocked and disbelieving expression on his face, shaking his head saying “No – no!” then I noticed he was carrying a can of water – you’ve guessed it, I was gaily filling his radiator with petrol!
I ran in to Mick “I’ve filled that man’s radiator with petrol Mick!” i said tearfully “No duck he’s pulling your leg” said Mick “I don’t think he is” said I “Bloody ‘ell duck!”
Well it was all sorted, bless him Mick gave me another chance, I soon learned one end of a car from another, could drain radiators and put anti-freeze in, change spark plugs and mend punctures (this was in the days of tyre levers and a rubber hammer).
I absolutely loved that job – much to mother’s dismay, her reaction being, when I walked in after my first day in my duffle coat smelling of petrol and oil, “Oh you use to look so smart when you worked in the office!” But I had a grin from ear to ear. Doesn’t it prove that we should all be given a chance when we make a mistake? I’ve always told my children that a mistake is only a bad thing when you don’t learn from it.
Guest blog by @Fruitcake