BREVARD, North Carolina (WLOS) — Memorial Day weekend is the first holiday that feels like pre-pandemic life, as tourists flooded the mountains and packed local businesses. But many of those businesses are still not fully staffed because of the employee shortage.
“It’s been very difficult,” Gary Christ, owner of Fireside Restaurant and Pancake Inn in Hendersonville, said. “If you go down Four Seasons Boulevard, there’s a help wanted sign almost at every restaurant. There’s just not enough people to go around.”
So, when an old friend, Tim Bailey, offered to help for free, Christ gladly accepted.
“I said, ‘Well, I know how to bus tables, you know I do.’ He laughed and said, ‘Really?’” Bailey said.
Bailey, of Brevard, is working for free at Fireside. Why, you might ask? He says, “Why not?”
“It’s obvious there’s a shortage of people willing to serve,” Bailey said.
So, when Bailey went in to Fireside one day and saw tables that needed to be bused, he decided to do something about it.
“The greatest joy is helping and just serving,” he said. “You don’t need a college degree to help people.”
“It’s fantastic,” Christ said. “He said, ‘Well, I’ll bus for you.’ I said, ‘Wow.’”
Because times are tough.
“It’s been very difficult,” Christ said. “We hired three dishwashers, three did not show up.”
Right now, North Carolina has about 450,000 people receiving unemployment benefits.
Busing tables isn’t anything new for Bailey. He did this same thing for Christ decades before at another restaurant.
“The greatest satisfaction is being there for Gary, who I served 55 years ago,” Bailey said.
Bailey said that’s all the payment he needs. He urged the community to step up and help fill in the gaps at local small businesses.
“If you go into a restaurant and see tables that aren’t being bused, ask the manager, ‘Can I help?’” bailey said.
Bailey said he understands not everyone is able to work for free. But, if you can, please help, he said.
“It shows his desire to help and people see this, customers see this,” Christ said. “It’s a good example.”
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