PHOENIX — There's no question the last two years took a toll on everyone and for those in the restaurant industry, the challenges seemed insurmountable.
But one single mom of two decided she wasn't going quietly without a fight because her reason for living, her two daughters, depended on her to pull through.
Samantha Klasinski has worked at the Streets of New York pizza restaurant as a server for 12 years, but not everything in her life was sunshine and roses.
A few years ago, she ran into a major roadblock. She and the father of her two girls split, she was buried in a mountain of debt and she nearly lost everything.
Refusing to give up, Klasinski bought a fixer-upper home in Black Canyon City and moved her entire life up north. At the time she was working at the ‘Streets of New York’ location in north Scottsdale, but after commuting several months, managed to get transferred to the location off Carefree Highway where she is currently thriving.
When she’s not working at the restaurant, she’s renovating her home by herself and her two girls Alison and Kaylee.
“I don't have anyone I can rely on who can step in and help so it's just me, and it's really... it's terrifying sometimes. But somehow, I made it work. I'm proud of that, for sure!” said Klasinski.
At the restaurant, Klasinski is known for her work ethic, her photographic memory and her constant smile and positive vibe.
“She's like the American single mom that you think of when there's someone out working for her kids... that's her,” said customer Cheryl Stanley.
When Ken Garff Kia General Manager, Carlos Aguirre surprised Klasinski with the check, applause broke out and she wiped away a few tears.
Restaurant owner Laurie Glaser said no one deserves this award more than Klasinski for her hard work, pull yourself up by the bootstraps attitude, and the ability to hang in there through hard times and good.
But for Klasinski, receiving the recognition for Server of the Week was more about leaving an example for her two girls that hard work does pay off.
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