The sample real life story (a.k.a. memoir) and companion essay on this page highlight working in the catering industry. If you work in a different industry write about 'Amazing Moments' (good or bizarre) that you've seen on your workplace.
'Princess Diana's Gowns'
THEME: When She Is Not Who We Think
"One of New York City’s biggest social events of 1997, was on June 25th, when Christie’s auctioned seventy-nine of Princess Diana’s gowns for AIDS and Cancer charities. Two months later, on August 31, 1997, Princess Diana died in a car crash at the age of 36.
If I had not served her at that June auction, I would not have cried as I did when I heard of her death. And I would not have understood that people called her ‘Lady Di’ with the same kind of fond reverence for her extreme human realness as people had when they called Billie Holiday ‘Lady Day’.
At the Christie’s cocktail party I was given explicit instructions that with each tray of hors d'oeuvres I carried I was to get close to Princess Diana to offer it to her. (I was very good at arm spiking the tray straight up in the air and zipping gracefully through a crowd to get to the target.) It wasn’t that our event planner thought Princess Diana was famished and would really eat. It was that our client was keeping pace with the Princess and should see trays frequently.
I myself of course knew of Princess Diana. This was a time of newsstands and magazine covers, and she was everywhere. But I literally had read nothing about her and only knew what I overheard (like Prince Charles had first dated her older sister!). I really thought all the fuss was just another case of celebrity worship.
But then I served Princess Diana. She was tall! I’m 5’6. I later looked it up, she was 5’10 (two inches taller than Prince Charles). And she was big boned. No frail lady was she. Not at all what I had expected (if I had thought about it).
What I really was not prepared for was how nice she was to me! As a server you can hate being told to go up constantly to a guest who has already indicated she’s not interested. (We prefer the hoovering off to the side from the guest looking to see if she looks at the tray and then directly approaching.) Almost every time I presented a tray to Princess Diana she looked at me and smiled, even if it meant briefly breaking off a conversation. She did partake twice. Both times thanking me with such a big smile, I’m almost sure she ate to please me.
And on top of all this --- She Glowed! She had such a calming, caring presence that I could see and feel it. I knew I was in the presence of a special person. In the midst of wealth and the elites, she made me feel hopeful about humanity.
After the cocktail party, I told the story of meeting Princess Diana to friends, still I did not research her life then. But when I heard about her death, I gasped for air. I don’t know if I would have watched her televised funeral if I had not served her, although 32 million in the United Kingdom and 2.5 billion people worldwide watched; one of the biggest televised events in history. I do know if I had not served her at the Christie’s auction, I would not have cried as I did, for I would not have known Princess Di was a full-blooded human being.
Born Diana Frances Spencer, she grew up with position and wealth, yet in her teens and twenties she worked as a babysitter, a part-time cleaner, and a kindergarten teacher! In 1995 on BBC TV Princess Diana spoke publically – at a time when neither celebrities nor friends did -- about her bouts with bulimia to help others combatting the eating disorder. In her adult live she supported over 100 charities. - Trayce
(For the record: Dress size: 8; Shoe Size: 9 US)
New stories for this Story Category will be posted above the sample story.
Story Category Essay
The sample memoir above is followed
below by an essay about the Story Category.
The NYC Catering Industry has opened the doors to so many culturally diverse worlds for so many working people. Even if it’s only a fleeting glimpse, it broadens your understanding of the world and confidence in venturing out to new situations. From museums to business skyscrapers to penthouses to countryside mansions to high-end fashion houses to the Statue of Liberty, catering can take you anywhere.
Catering is perhaps one of the most important aspects of event planning that will help make or break any business meeting, fundraising gala or wedding event.
The diversity of catering locations is matched by the diversity of your co-workers; is matched by the diversity of the vendors you work beside (i.e. lighting, sound, decor, entertainment, tents, valet parking, etc.); is matched by the diversity of the guests you serve. That’s possible New Exposures x 10 ! Memorable encounters with another human being can happen in the most unexpected environments.