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April 23, 2024

Uncle Jo’s Newest Employee

Mentoring makes a difference in people’s lives

By Angela Rogalski

The Bolivar Bullet

Bryson Turner, a 6th grader from D.M. Smith Elementary, is proving he has what it takes to be a real entrepreneur in the food industry. When Bryson’s mother reached out to Joey Lamb, owner of Uncle Jo’s, a family-style restaurant in Cleveland, and asked him about hiring her son, Lamb had to say no because of his age, but he didn’t pass up another important opportunity.

“With COVID, it’s been a little tough lately getting help in the restaurant,” Lamb said. “So, I posted an ad on Facebook about hiring someone. And Bryson’s mother reached out to me and asked how old someone needed to be to work there. I told her that a person had to be 16 to work and get paid for it. She then told me  about Bryson and about a recent loss they had had in the family. Bryson was having a bit of a hard time dealing with things and needed some direction and maybe even a mentor in his life. Someone to teach him about responsibility.”

Lamb said he told Bryson’s mother than he’d be willing to let the young man come in and help out, to mentor him even and teach him the ropes of the business.

“So he came in and just hung out with me,” Lamb added. “He wanted to learn about the kitchen, so I’ve been teaching him different aspects of the restaurant business. Bryson is one of the most well-mannered, respectful young men I have ever met. He may be a sixth grader, but he has the work ethic and drive of someone much older. In fact, I’d go so far as to say his work ethics are better than most adults I’ve hired in my life. He inspires me and I think he could inspire many other adults and certainly people his own age. He doesn’t expect to be given anything; he understands fully that you have to work for things in life. He doesn’t stand around and wait to be told what to do, he just asks what to next and then jumps in to help.”

Lamb said Bryson started about three weeks ago and comes in mainly on the weekends because of school.

“He always has a smile on his face and really seems to enjoy what he does,” Lamb added. “I wish I had a larger place so I could help more young people find some direction in their lives, but if I can make a difference in at least one child’s life, I feel I’m doing something.”