Randy Rivera remembers it didn’t faze him when a customer at the Wok Box store he was working at fed samples he’d given her to a chihuahua she unexpectedly pulled out of her bag.
It didn’t even throw him when the woman complained about the onions in the tasty offerings, citing the dog’s allergies.
“I thought it was for her,” Rivera said Monday, from his post at the Grandview Corners Wok Box, where he is general manager.
“I was apologetic,” and offered to whip up something more suitable, he said.
“My goal in life is to make everyone happy and make their experience in life as smooth as possible.”
Rivera learned shortly after the experience that his knack in handling such challenges – posed during what he believed at the time was filming for a corporate-training video – stood out.
It won him a Wok Box franchise of his own, should he decide he wants it.
Rivera, 29, was one of four Wok Box managers who unknowingly competed for the prize as part of the Food Network Canada reality show, Giving You the Business.
Each episode of the program pits unsuspecting fast-food employees against each other, filming them through various scenarios concocted specifically for the show.
In the episode, Shaken… and Stir Fried – which aired Monday night after filming in London, Ont. in February – the managers also dealt with the challenge of non-paying customers, a roller-derby team and a new employee who talked obsessively about her upcoming wedding before suddenly heading for the door.
“It was pretty funny. There was a lot of tough challenges,” said Lawrence Eade, Wok Box chief executive officer, who said the show’s producers approached Wok Box to participate.
In addition to Rivera, managers from locations in London, North Vancouver and Quarry Park (Calgary) were chosen to compete.
Eade described Rivera as “just a fantastic guy.”
Rivera had to keep the news he’d won under his hat until the show aired. He has a year to mull his options, which include taking on his own franchise.
As a family man, it is a decision he can’t rush into, he said.
“I dedicated all my… hard work for her (wife Amy) and my two kids,” Rivera said.
“It’s going to give us an opportunity.”