Samantha pedaled quickly, glancing down at her watch as often as her balance would allow. The clock’s face read 10:57, sending a spike of panic shooting up her spine. She bent further over her bike, willing her legs to go faster. She screeched to a stop in front of a large restaurant bearing a bright blue, neon sign, her ears ringing, sweat breaking out on her skin. She hurriedly locked her bike to the lone pole positioned in front of the building, before pushing her way through the heavy glass front doors.
Samantha stopped short, turning to face her boss. She was greeted with a stern face, her boss’ lips a thin line. She shook her head in apology.
“I’m sorry, Paul. My bike’s tires were flat, and I forgot my I.D. badge, so I had to turn back—“
Paul held up his hand, cutting her off. “Just don’t let it happen again.”
Samantha threw her hair into a ponytail, hoping her shift would prove more successful as the day wore on. She nearly ran to her first table of the day, plastered a smile on her face, and greeted her first customers of the day. She responded to their questions politely, though her mind was still occupied by Paul’s disappointed expression as she ran in the door. Despite her initial mistakes, Samantha worked hard to remain chipper and upbeat, answering her customers’ questions to the best of her ability, forcing herself to smile when her eyes began to glaze over with tears.
As her first customers left, she caught the eye of the elderly gentleman with the group. He winked, and walked through the doors. Confused, Samantha began to gather the dishes from the table and there, staring up at her, was a crisp $100 bill. She let a tear roll down her cheek. Her day had just gotten better.
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