The course of my entire adult life can be traced back to one small decision: Left or right at the stop sign? It was late August 1998. I had just moved to Denver with my family from Billings, MT and needed to find a job.
In Billings, I had worked at a Red Robin as a hostess, and the serving jobs were coveted. Denver looked to be a different animal in the job market, it seemed like everywhere we went there were “now hiring” signs, so I was hopeful.
I made a plan for myself that August afternoon. I needed a job, and I needed gas in my car. I would apply at two places for a serving job, and see what happened. Red Robin would be my first choice, because I had worked there before. Then, we had been to a “Chili’s” with my family earlier in the week, and there was a gas station in the same little strip mall area. So, I’ll go to Red Robin and fill out an application, then fill up the car, then go to Chili’s.
I wore a denim skirt with cargo pockets, a white t-shirt, and the platform converse-style tennis shoes that were so popular that summer. I remember putting on that outfit and remembering that I had once dressed my Barbie doll in a very similar outfit when I was a kid, and isn’t it funny how fashion always comes back around? Anyway, that’s beside the point.
I hopped in my little 1978 MGB and was on my way. My parents live in a little neighborhood that backs up to Dry Creek Road. Dry Creek Road is a pretty busy street. I stopped at the stop-sign on Humboldt, ready to pull out and make a left hand turn to head toward Red Robin and waited for traffic so that I could turn left. And waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, I re-thought my plan. I decided to just go ahead and turn right and go to Chili’s first, then fill up the car, then I’d stop at Red Robin, then I’d come home. That way I could stop waiting, for the love.
I went in to Chili’s and filled out an application. I was hired on the spot. I never made it to Red Robin.
I’ll never know what would have happened had I just turned left. But, as far as I know, my entire adult life hinged on that small decision to turn right.
For one thing, it made life simpler. Every time I went to work while living with my parents I could just turn right. Phew. Good decision. But, here’s the thing: I met lots of people working there, people that I still keep in touch with and love today. I met my best girlfriend there, who (seven years after the fateful turn) introduced me to my husband.
And the rest is history.