The Next Chapter

Leah McLaren's weirdest day job

Leah McLaren, author of A Better Man, talks about her weirdest day job: as a patio waitress.
Leah McLaren writes about a successful couple who are contemplating divorce in her new novel A Better Man. (Twitter)

Leah McLaren, author of A Better Mantalks about working for a gambling-addicted employer at a Toronto restaurant:

"The weirdest day job I ever had was more of a night job. I worked at a patio restaurant in Yorkville in downtown Toronto. I won't name the restaurant because it was a very, very weird place and the owner was a sort of gambling addict. He used to sit in the bar downstairs and play this little slot machine, and drink and drink and drink. And at the end of the night he would start challenging anyone who would play to play pool with him and he always wanted to play for money and it was all female waitresses and one male bartender. And the male bartender would always break down and play pool with him and usually he would lose. But if the bartender won, the owner would sometimes punch him out and sometimes just fire him. So we would always come in for our shift and half the time there would be no bartender and we'd be like, 'Oh, apparently he beat him at pool and we need to find a new bartender.' So that was one summer in university. I made a lot of tips but was quite happy to move on."

Leah McLaren's comments have been edited and condensed.