(What you are about to read are true confessions from various former, and occasionally current employees in the industrial giant known as the hospitality industry. All names have been changed, as have most locations. What remains true are the stories of employees; the good, bad, ugly, heartwarming, heartbreaking, scary, action-packed and unique stories that only that industry could bring.)


The theme park I worked at prided themselves on being truly proud of the multicultural group of employees as well as guests. They didn’t cater to any racial or religious group, or at least they claimed not to. Because one night a year, a Christian rock music festival company would rent out the park.


The entire park. Instead of the usual music, a soundtrack I knew back and forth by this point, they blared Christian rock for eight straight hours. There I found myself, a Jew working a Christian music festival. If I wasn’t making overtime, I would’ve had a huge problem and maybe cry anti-semitism. Yet, I sucked it up and worked the equivalent of 18 hours over the 2 days of the festival. Some of those Christian rock songs still play in my head to this day sometimes.


EDM laser party at SXSW 2015


One would naturally assume that the Christian rock festival nights went on without incident and that teenagers donning shirts with giant crosses weren’t getting too physical with one another on the park rides, right?


My roommate, an employee on a very popular ride, said he witnessed countless teenage couples getting all 8th grade dance with each other and some even came off the ride with their hair messed up and clothes tossed around. Why teenagers attending a Christian rock festival were deciding to get biblical with one another, no pun intended on biblical, we never found out.


Something else I never figured out either was another occurrence during the second night of the festival. As I walked from one side of the giant park to another, I stopped in my tracks.


You know when you smell a certain smell that takes you back to a certain point in time? One that makes you think of home, or at least happier times. I smelled an aroma that reminded me of wonderful times in all my friend’s rooms in college.


I smelled the strongest weed I ever had in that moment. I thought Willie Nelson was performing at this festival or something. This smell wasn’t just lingering in the air, either. It reeked of dank in a way that only a Snoop Dogg concert could.


Someone had just lit up in the middle of the freaking Christian music festival. It sometimes felt like I was working on another planet entirely when I was in that theme park. No social norms existed there, certainly not the one about lighting up in a discreet area. There seemed to be little, if any, decorum between families on vacation. That’s just a general lesson I learned while working there.


The fact that those kids were getting that wild at a Christian music festival and smoking weed like a Lil Wayne concert still makes the Jewish American in me laugh to this day.         


Do you have your own hospitality story? Please do Tweet me at @CaptainKasoff.