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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 24, 2014 at 1:08 PM

A reader’s letter about his work experience at Paseo

Matthew Crane lights a candle and leaves a flower Tuesday in front of the shuttered Paseo restaurant in Fremont (the Ballard shop closed, too), under a sign saying it closed due to “unfortunate circumstances.” (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

In 2007, a chubby 16-year-old version of myself walked timidly into Paseo Fremont with a résumé in hand [“Day after closing, Paseo files for bankruptcy,” Local news, Nov. 13]. With almost no former work experience, I didn’t have high hopes that I would have any sort of a shot at working at my favorite restaurant in the world.

To my astonishment Lucas, the older brother in the Lorenzo family offered me a job on the spot after we bonded over lacrosse. Throughout my time as a new employee, I was met with nothing but encouragement and support from Lucas, his brother Julian and their dad Lorenzo. “Anything you need, come to us,” I was told over and over.

At the end of my first summer working there, I was told that a spot would be saved for me the following summer, and that if I ever wanted to work on weekends, I could. I wondered to myself, “Why would they hold a spot for me?” I was just some punky teenager who lived down the street. Sure, I worked hard and did my best, but who wouldn’t given the same opportunity?

As I came back to work year after year, I came to learn a very simple truth: Paseo was a family restaurant in every sense of the term. The Lorenzos treat their employees like family, and this sentiment applies even to the “lowest” employee on the totem pole, who at the time happened to be me. Even after leaving for four years to go to college, they still had a job waiting for me when I needed it most. At all times, I have felt welcomed, respected and extremely fortunate to be part of this big family.

My intention in writing this letter is to inform the public of my own experiences and to further prevent this family from being unjustly criticized. I am hurt to see how the Lorenzos are being misrepresented and portrayed by the media when I perceive them as a family that has treated me and the rest of their employees with nothing but respect.

My heart goes out to Julian, Lucas, Lorenzo, the whole Paseo crew and all those who enjoyed this truly special food over the years. I will be forever grateful for all that the Lorenzos and the Paseo family have done for me, and I know that this is not the end.

Ryen Bartlett, Seattle Paseo employee 2007-2014

Comments | More in Labor | Topics: food, Lorenzo family, Paseo

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