Friday, March 2, 2012

Disney Cruise Servers

This is my server, Garfield.
It’s not actually him. My phone died so I couldn’t get a picture. Just pretend, okay?

On the Disney cruises, you eat at a different restaurant each night and your servers move with you.  The idea is that they get to know what you like, so they can serve you better.

Garfield is from Jamaica.  I mentioned having visited Ocho Rios, and he told me his farm was near there.  I asked how he ended up a waiter on a ship if he was a farmer.

He paused.  It was obviously an uncomfortable subject, but he told me anyway.

Garfield owned a small farm that his brother ran.  They grew tomatoes and cabbages and a little sugar cane.  Garfield’s wife wanted to go to the United States to train to be a nurse, so he dumped all of his available money into his farm, hoping the extra yield on the land would provide enough to put her through school.  That year, a hurricane devastated Jamaica, and he lost everything.  Needing enough money to pay for his wife’s education, he reached out to a relative working on a Disney ship and got a job as a waiter.

Garfield now works seven months straight without a break, without seeing his wife (she goes to school in Florida, where the ship docks twice a week).  While employees on the ship have their own pool and beach, several workers I spoke to said they spent their free time sleeping.  I heard other workers on a previous cruise describe how their salaries were “a joke.”

It kinda makes you wonder: what do any of us, with our comfortable lives, have to complain about?

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