A bartender in Shelby, Ohio, claims she was fired over what local police say was the right thing to do.
Twyla DeVito had been a bartender at the American Legion Post in Shelby for almost a year when she called and reported to police that a regular bar patron and a board member of the American Legion had gotten into his car after appearing drunk and drove away.
"There was no cab, I couldn't give him a ride home and I was working," she said.
So she called police, who found the patron driving with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, according to Shelby Police Chief Charles Roub.
The patron was issued a citation for operating a vehicle under the influence, according to a police report.
Two days later, DeVito received a call from her commander telling her she was fired.
"He called me and said that I was bad for business," she said. "[He said], 'This is nothing personal, this is all business, but I am going to have to fire you.'"
"My commander said I didn't follow protocol, but there was no protocol," she added.
An attempt to reach the American Legion Post in Shelby, Ohio, for comment by telephone was unsuccessful.
According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there is not a law that requires a bartender to report a drunk driver.
"I support what she did," said Roub. "We encourage people to report crimes, we encourage people to report drunk driving and, as a police officer, that helps me do my job."
DeVito said she does not regret calling police.
"If he had gotten in a wreck that would have been on me, because I was on my shift," said DeVito. "It was in a lose-lose situation. I choose to possibly save a life."
She said she would do it again, if she could.
"I just want people to understand [that] bartenders are in a catch ," DeVito said. "I can cut you off but you are still getting in your car and you're still drunk. The whole point is being missed. You are still in a car drunk and driving."
The recent recession has made it difficult for many unemployed people to find jobs in their field. The one area where employment opportunities are growing are in the service industry. These type of jobs are difficult to
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automate or outsource abroad. This is especially true for bartenders. If someone at their local bar wants a drink, they can’t send the order to China or India. It has to be made on the spot quickly and efficiently.
A recent report by the U.S. Government for the job market showed signs that economic growth is slowing and well short of full employment. If you’re an engineer or a specialized factory worker, job prospects for this group of skilled workers has been strong. Globalization and the rapid advance of technology have diminished job opportunities for unskilled workers and many office workers.
The real job growth according to David Autor , an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are personal service jobs that can’t be automated or easily done by machines. Bartending is a perfect example of type of job that can’t be eliminated.
Between 2007 and 2010 the total number of jobs fell by 6%. Some sectors of the job market fell by as much as 12% if they were in middle management of office work. While personal service jobs only fell by 1%. The payrolls of the US large companies that specialize in personal services has been growing steadily in recent years. According to the Wall Street Journal Panera Bread Co. has increases its U.S work force by 22,000 jobs a 50% increase. Chipotle Mexican Grill has added another 12,000 new jobs to its work force an increase of 60%. Health Care companies have also increased their work force substantially by 84%.
Because of the increased job opportunities in the service industry, many people who lost their office or factory jobs have been forced to accept lower paying jobs in the service industry. Let’s face it; working in fast food doesn’t pay very much. It’s OK if you’re a teenage but if you’re a bread winner you need something better.
While many service jobs are on the low end of the pay scale, bartending is one of the better service jobs. According to the US Department of Labor estimates bartenders earn $20-$30 and hour with their salary and tips. If they work for a hotel or restaurant chain, they may receive health care and retirement benefits.
Victor Torres, a graduate of the American Bartenders School in Palm Desert, Ca. had a construction job that paid him $50,000 to $60,000 a year. Victor was a high school drop out and started working construction at 17. “It was great while it lasted, but I don’t think construction is going to come back for a long time and that’s while I decided to learn a new skill and become a bartender.” Victor now works at a local casino as a bartender and thinks he will make as much bartending as he did in construction. “People always eat and drink no matter what the economy. I think people drink more the tougher times get.”
Rachel Hernandez a recent graduate of the American Bartenders School NYC “I lost my job on Wall Street and needed some fast training. I got certified in a week and I now work at a sports bar in Brooklyn. It beats sitting at a desk all day.”
A bar is a church, a confessional, a communal meeting place where people who might have never met each other, or who may never see each other again, have a chance meeting and who knows what could happen. A place where one can go and unwind or meet friends and relax. To run such a place requires a long list of skills, that can be obtained at a "Bartending School" . each one as important as the other. Among those skills is making a great cocktail. But if all a bartender did was make cocktails and leave the bar to run on its own, I guess we would have a window where a bartender would simply take an order and slide the drink through and collect the requisite amount of money.
Sadly, many bars can feel that way because the bartenders aren't interested in what is happening at the bar, they are more interested in being the show, and not realizing that it is the customer who is the real show. That is what has been lost in the current translation of our cocktail culture and we need to repair it, the sooner the better.
"Bartender" is therefore my choice as the title which all who toil in the craft should use. A mixologist to me is someone who creates cocktails, and that is only a part of what makes a bartender. What bartending should be -- pretentious. Bartenders become celebrities to the people they serve because they are looked after. That is what is paramount about the job.
There are many out there who create amazing cocktails, and that is what has made this era the most exciting for us in years. But...lets, not forget that what happens over the bar and between bartender and customer in the intimate confines of the bar, is what is most important. Combine the two skills, and you really have something special, the complete package. Winner: the customer. Okay, bartenders?