I know everyone thinks they don't get paid enough but there are people in our community who REALLY need go get more money for what they do.
Of course I think teachers, law enforcement and fire and rescue personnel don't get paid enough for the important work they do, and in some cases for the dangerous work they do. Lord knows I'd be petrified to run into a burning building or pull up to an active crime scene. And teachers aren't just responsible for molding young minds but they have to deal with so much stuff on top of what they do in the classroom, it's ridiculous. Some of y'all know your kids are actin' up all day and somebody's gotta try to keep them calm and well behaved AND educate them on top of all that.
But here's a list of people in and around our community who — if I had unlimited money— I'd make sure were paid way more than they make now...
1. School bus drivers/custodians/food service — Y'all, our kids spend so much of their time coming in contact with these people. Especially bus drivers. They are responsible for your kids' safety every single day. Your children interact with these people every morning and every evening. Don't you want people in these professions to be well paid and motivated to do their jobs well? Money isn't everything but if we upped the salary for these professions, think of how much more appreciated these people would feel. And higher pay would make these jobs more appealing. A school bus driver's hours aren't great. And yet I know several who greet y'alls kids with smiles on their faces because they know some kids don't see smiles at home. Pay these people more because they impact our kids' lives every single day.
2. Waffle house servers and cooks — I've said it before. These people work their butts off every day. They're on their feet all day long and all night long. And the food is DELICIOUS. I may not be able to get them a better salary but I can ask y'all to tip 'em well.
3. Floyd Felines volunteers — All the people in our community who work hard for animal welfare deserve our thanks. Whether you realize it or not, their work makes our community better and cleaner and safer. They're getting strays off the streets and keeping Rome from being overrun with kittens and puppies. I know the folks at Floyd Felines are swamped with cats and kittens and it seems like their work never ends. Those being paid to do it deserve way more than they get. And the volunteers need to be praised. Donate to Floyd Felines, the Humane Society or any other animal welfare group in our community. I promise they'll appreciate all the help they can get.
4. That guy who does the Floyd County PAWS videos — This sort of goes along with the animal welfare workers but I've seen several videos with one guy in particular. His name is Keelan Freeman and he works at Floyd County PAWS and he's been in a number of videos where he tries to get shelter dogs adopted. It's a great idea. It's one thing to get people to the shelter to look at animals, but these videos are shared on social media and hundreds or even thousands of people see Keelan and other PAWS employees interacting with these dogs and they can see how friendly and playful the dogs are. I bet they've gotten several dogs adopted just because of those videos. Keelan and other PAWS employees are going above and beyond to make sure hundreds of animals find good homes.
5. Chick-Fil-A employees who stand outside to take orders — If y'all think I'm about to stand outside in the 90 degree heat to make sure you have extra Polynesian sauce with your spicy chicken biscuit you're sadly mistaken. Yet there are people whose job it is to stand out there, sweating and probably getting skin cancer from the sun just so we don't have to wait in the drive-thru line as long. I would be mean as a snake if I was standing out there while you try to figure out if you want a milkshake or not. But they do it with a smile and they never forget to say "My Pleasure." So give these folks some more money. Don't act like y'all don't pull up in that drive-thru line every day in your Honda Odyssey with four separate orders.
6. Linemen — whether it's for the power company or the cable company, linemen have my respect and they should be paid WELL for what they do. I know it's their job but it's a tough job. They've got to get out in the worst weather sometimes to make sure that people's power or cable is restored as quickly as possible. They gotta get up in those buckets all hours of the night and day and in the heat or the freezing cold and risk being electrocuted so that you don't miss "Wheel of Fortune."
7. Publix baggers and cashiers — These are some of the most polite and personable people. They are EXTREMELY efficient and helpful. PLUS they offer to take my cart or bags out to my car every time I'm there. I never let them but I'm grateful that they asked. Give them a raise for making our shopping experience so much more pleasant.
8. The old man who monitors parking at the courthouse — I know, you probably don't like him cause he got on to you about parking there. He's actually made me move my car before too. BUT you gotta admit he's doing his job well. This is the older gentleman who patrols that parking lot making sure visitors don't park in the reserve spots or that you don't leave you car there longer than you should. This guy is ON POINT. He watches every spot like a hawk and swoops down if you dare park somewhere you shouldn't. So even though I get mad sometimes cause I can't get away with illegal parking, I have to admit he's very good at his job. Give him a raise.
Severo Avila is features editor for the Rome News-Tribune