Server job provides office worker with a side order of fun and family

May 20, 2012|By JANET HEIM |
  • Bruce Massey has been a server at the Old South Mountain Inn in Boonsboro more than 30 years.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — When Bruce Massey moved to the area 31 years ago, he found himself with time on his hands. By day, he settled into his full-time job with the State of Maryland’s unemployment office.

By night, Old South Mountain Inn in Boonsboro became his second home and the staff his family as he began working as a server.

He now works at Washington County Department of Social Services as assistant director for administration, a job he’s held for 12 years.

Massey, who was the only child of an Eastern Shore poultry farmer, said he was used to working hard on the farm and wasn’t one to sit around.

March 27, 1982, marked his first day working at the inn and 30 years later, Massey, 57, is still there — the longest-serving employee at the inn.

Owners Lisa and Chad Dorsey threw a surprise party on April 1 at the inn, inviting former employees who  worked with Massey.

“We did fool you,” said Chad Dorsey, poking fun at the April Fool’s Day date for the party. 

“We really wanted to do this for Bruce. It’s not just the 30 years he’s worked here, but what he does for people here.”

Chad started working at the inn 22 years ago, and Lisa, 19 years ago. They purchased the inn 12 years ago and said it’s almost unheard of to have such longevity in staff.

Massey attributes it to the feeling that staff members are family. 

While Massey puts in a full week at his DSS job, he looks forward to his time at the inn.

“One of the neat things about working here is you have to check your baggage at the door. A server is like a computer. You have to be focused to process everything. This is an escape from everything else going on in your life,” Massey said. 

“He goes from the serious side in the day to the silly side at nights,” Lisa Dorsey said.

The Dorseys said Massey makes everyone laugh. Invariably, something always happens to him when he works, adding levity to his shifts.

Typically, Massey works one weekend night and Sunday brunch. During the holidays, he might work three to four nights covering parties.

“It just became part of the routine,” said Massey, who lives in the Hagerstown’s North End.

Massey was 27 when he started working at Old South Mountain Inn and said although it’s hard work, the pace helps keep him young.

When Massey arrived to work on Easter Sunday, Chad Dorsey said Bruce was starting his next 30 years working at the restaurant.

“This is different than working at a regular restaurant. In fine dining, you want to make sure the customer is happy when they leave. You have one chance to do it right. There’s no going back,” Massey said.

Massey had some background in food service after working for Thrasher’s French Fries at the boardwalk in high school and at Phillips’ Seafood in Ocean City, Md., while earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Salisbury University.

He was also a maintenance man for eight summers at Assateague State Park.

In addition to his two jobs, Massey is a board member and serving in his fourth term as secretary of the Clear Spring District Historical Society, is a member of the Washington County Emergency Operations Center and American Red Cross Disaster Response Team, has been a Washington County election judge since 2000 and is an active member at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Hagerstown.

Lisa Dorsey said the theme for Massey’s party was “It’s all about Bruce.”

“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them,” Massey said of the Dorseys.

“I’ve had the fortunate experience of working here,” he said. “I don’t have any plans to leave. This is family.”

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