David Mello is a graduate of Henry Ford II High School 07'. He went to Macomb Community College for one year, but ran into some hard times. He didn’t have a car, didn’t know what to go into and had little money. Mello had some financial troubles that forced him to take a semester off from school.
He was approved for financial aid but did not receive his check in time. This resulted in Mello having to take a break from school and working at Red Robin full time. He said that working full time somewhat helped.
He is worried about the future though.
“In the beginning, the money was good.” Mello said, “Now it’s (his pay) not.”
Since his paycheck is mostly tips, he is losing money. Before the recession, people were eating out more and Red Robin was making money. He was even promoted to train new staff but now mostly busses tables.
Before the recession, Mello held multiple positions at the restaurant Red Robin. His positions included busboy, trainer and host. At one point he made $8.15 an hour. Now he is a busboy making $6.50 plus tips.
Mello’s family had some financial difficulties as well. Recently his father tried to sell their home but with no success. Mello said he did not know when they were going to move to. At one point his for sale sign even went missing. He eventually then learned that the real estate agency had pulled his house off the market due to lack of offers.
His diet has changed dramatically. Mello used to eat a lot of variety but has now resorted to reduce his eating habits. His main source of food is a peanut butter sandwiches.
“He is a good kid, but very quiet,” said Ben Radell, a former classmate.
Radell and Mello have known each other since high school where they studied German together. Radell didn’t know Mello had money issues, Mello is a private person and isn’t surprised that he keeps information about himself private.
“David is a nice guy. He keeps his problems to himself probably because he doesn’t like to bother people with his problems,” Radell said.
Kela Robinson, a friend of Mello, does notice differences in his habits due to the recession. Robinson said before he went to school, “David had a lot of interests and goals.” Now she said, “has a hard time paying for school.”
Mello said he worries about his future. He does not know what he wants to do. He said that most of the fields he wants to work in do not provide much money and he has no idea what he wants to be because of that. Mello believes that there are no promising jobs in today’s economy.
He has more than money troubles. Currently he drives a broken down van, which he bought for $150. The van has fluids that leak, a damaged headlight and a missing door handle. The van also has no heat or air and had an issue with the horn.
“When I turned the steering wheel, the horn went off. It was kind of embarrassing," Mello said.
As a result, he had to disable his horn. The reason behind his missing door handle is that someone stole it in. Because of this he has to go through his passenger side door to enter his car.
Jacob Grey, a friend of Mello’s, said he wished things ended up better for Mello. Grey even went to parties with Mello and said he was the responsible one. Grey says Mello does not get drunk or party but works and studies. He said it is sad that things ended up this way for Mello.