Teens face unusual work experiences in high school jobs


Photo courtesy Robert Latimer

Senior Everett Latimer’s x-ray of his hand due to a work-related injury. Latimer’s fingertips were not able to be reattached after his accident with a gate at work, so instead, doctors pulled the skin over the bone and sewed the fingers back together.

As teens progress through high school, the more likely it is that a job opportunity will arise. Working part-time jobs as a high school student gives limited opportunities of where to work for those wanting to make extra cash after school. With limited jobs come rare experiences that students face while working in retail, fast food or other teen-related jobs.

Senior Everett Latimer began working at Atwood’s in early September where he is a load out. Load outs’ jobs are to help customers lift heavy bags, help with heavy outdoor equipment or load big safes that are bought from the store. Latimer experienced something Sept. 12, that, at the time he did not know, would change his life.

“I got into a big fight with a 400-pound gate while I was taking out the trash,” Latimer said. “As my finishing move to beat the gate in the fight, I slid it shut. But what I didn’t realize was that the gate had a secret attack move, and I slid my hand right into the belly of the beast, and he bit my fingers off.” 

After the incident, Latimer saw blood rushing from his hand, screamed for help and ran back inside where employees called 911 and tried to assist him to stop the blood. 

“I was in a complete panic, and I could not eat or drink anything because they thought that I might pass out,” Latimer said.

An ambulance went to Atwood’s to pick up Latimer in Latimer’s hopes to reattach his lost fingertips. At the hospital, there was not enough to attach, so Latimer had his fingers sewn at the top. 

“This is going to affect me for the rest of my life now since I have nubs for fingers,” Latimer said. “My fingers are permanently disfigured, and now I am Mr. Nubs. But at least it wasn’t my whole fingers.” 

Sophomore Lana Wood had a completely different experience at her job. Wood started working at Sugar Shane’s in July and has seen a few eerie situations while working there. A month into her job, Wood came across cleaning the men’s bathroom and she has not forgotten it. 

“I was closing, and my job that night was to clean the women’s bathroom,” Wood said. “Everything was fine in the women’s bathroom, but then I realized no guys were working that night and I had to clean the men’s bathroom too. When I walked into the men’s bathroom, toilets were not flushed and there were all sorts of gunk and trash on the floor, and all I wanted to do was run out of there.”

Wood felt uncomfortable cleaning the bathroom, so she quickly finished and walked out to talk to some of her friends who were also working about how bizarre and untidy it was. She does not plan on cleaning the men’s bathroom again because of the mess she witnessed the first time.

“I know that it isn’t the worst experience, but it was definitely a unique one,” Wood said. 

When working at a restaurant, strange confrontations can occur, but junior Lizzie Johnston feels her Walmart story takes the win for an awkward experience during work.

“I was working at my cash register as an old couple came up to me,” Johnston said. “The husband randomly started to tell me their whole life story, so I proceeded to shake my head and listen to him. All of a sudden the wife creepily told me how she died and came back to life because of her son.” 

For a second, Johnston was out of words to say until she told the couple to have a nice day and packed up the groceries. After the experience, she took a step back to analyze what she heard, and then went back to work.

“I will probably remember it forever just because it was the first creepy thing to happen,” Johnston said. “This is my first job, so it was very awkward, and I didn’t know how to respond. I know it is going to happen more though because my boss warned me about weird experiences.”

Johnston believes that although her experience was different, she has stories to tell to people that will last a lifetime.

“Walmart is an unusual place,” Johnston said. “but at least I get to tell all of the crazy stories that I get to experience. It is definitely a roller coaster of a workplace, but I’m still lucky to have a job there, even with the experiences.”