The Serendipity of Life Should Not Be Ignored!
My father-in-law, Jon, picked us up from the airport and decided to treat us to lunch at The Merchants Café on our way back to Everett. As we were walking up to the door, Lana exclaimed, "Tony!" and there standing outside was Tony, a buddy of hers from her clubbing days. It turned out Tony was one of the owners of Merchants. We had lunch, Tony and Lana caught up and that was that. What a weird coincidence Lana would say later. the odds of that timing are pretty small, especially considering Tony is not often there. I had applied for my work visa a while back and was still waiting anxiously as our funds were running pretty dry at this point, I was definitely questioning the wisdom of going diving in the Bahamas on an impulse at this point! fortunately I did not wait too much longer and mid to late February my visa arrived. I was officially legal to work on land in the States.
By this stage we had moved into a small 540 square foot 1 bedroom apartment in downtown Seattle and Lana was working at Ben Bridge Jewelers smack bang in the middle of down town. I had been growing restless having not worked for a few months now and was eager to start earning again but I had no network or social circle here. Good thing we had run into Tony when we landed, right? Tony hooked me up with a bartending gig there and soon I got used to the massive overpours that the States pours in comparison to South Africa. It was good to be behind a bar again having pent the majority of my working life managing or working a bar.
I was like a coiled spring released and I wanted to work all the time. I picked up every shift I could and got to know the in's and out's of the hospitality business in Seattle. I started getting a decent following of regulars and was doing pretty decent. Decent enough to catch the eye of Tony and his business partner, Darcy. Darcy was the main owner. She is awesome, a true character but awesome nonetheless. She has poured her soul into Merchants and is very passionate about it. They offered me a management position but managers don't make a ton so I met them in the middle and agreed to manage if I could bartend as well. Hands were shaken and the work began. I had been working for about 5 or 6 weeks at theis point so was pretty chuffed of then promotion. But it wasn't enough.
Remember how Lana and I decided to move to Seattle to open a bar, even though we had no idea how we would pull that off? Well, Merchants had a little blocked off underground area that just so happened to be an old and unused bar... We struck a deal with Darcy and Tony and we officially opened our bar, The Underground Saloon on June 2nd, after a soft opening for friends and family for Lana's 30th birthday. Lana and I worked so damn hard to get that little bar open and not only did we pull it off, we were voted number 3 for the Best Neighborhood Bar the Best of Washington competition by King 5. It is amazing what you can do with faith, desire, discipline and a ton of hard work! We would never had had this opportunity without the serendipitous meeting with Tony at the Merchants Café. I truly believe that there are many things that are simply meant to be, that coincidences are not necessarily simply a chance occurrence and that there is something so much greater than ourselves helping us along through this experience of life...