When I was in high school, I used to work as a hostess at the Red Robin in Dickson City. During that time, it was fairly new and drew in a good amount of business. I really enjoyed working there because I worked with some people I knew from school, and a lot of my friends would come in for lunch or dinner.
If you are not familiar with the Red Robin restaurant chain, their mascot is Red- The Red Robin. Red will make an appearance on kid’s night or upon request. He usually walks throughout the restaurant greeting tables and handing out balloons. There was one hostess who was hired as Red and would work routinely on kid’s night. One of the days I was working, the usual person who dressed as Red was out sick, so naturally they asked me and being the upbeat person I am, I said yes. In reality, I didn’t have much of a choice but that is beside the point.
I was taken to the break room and given clown shoes, yellow tights, a furry bird body with a rounded belly, and a large head with an extended yellow beak where I looked out of. I put the suit on and was led throughout the restaurant. You should know, either mascots are particularly good at their craft or they have had years of practice. Either way they make it look much easier than it actually is. Most people take for granted while enjoying a nice meet-and-greet from Red–The Red Robin, that he/she is wearing a head estimated to be 20 pounds with tunnel vision and shoes three sizes too big.
Much to my surprise, after awhile I became particularly fond of the suit. My confidence had sky-rocketed. I realized that wearing this suit was like wearing the invisibility cloak from the Harry Potter movies, something I had always wanted to experience. So I shamelessly started dancing and throwing around high fives to all who entered. At one point a young girl came through the doors and was so excited to see me. I remember thinking “what the heck, let me make her day,” so I bent down and threw my arms out for her to give me a hug. Unfortunately this moment was not something you would see during the 7th inning stretch at a baseball game. She ran full force at me but stopped short when she hit her head square off my extended beak. The hit was so intense, that she actually bounced back and I envisioned little stars circling around her head like they would in a cartoon. It’s difficult to explain what the moment was like from inside the mascot head but the sound was similar to a bird flying into a screen door. All went unseen by her family; they were all talking to the hostess as everything went on. So I jumped up brushed off her head with my furry gloved hand and shuffled her along to follow her parents to be seated.
The Scranton area is small; a lot of people are connected or know one another, which defiantly has its advantages. However, dressing in a bird suit during your high school years at a popular restaurant in a small town is not one of the advantages. Luckily, I didn’t see anyone I knew that night but if someone from my high school caught me being awkward in the costume, I would likely never live this story down.
Side Note: This is not me, but the same costume I wore.
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