A fast-food job is hard work. Employees must take orders, prepare food, deal with difficult customers, clean, and more, all while spending most of the day on their feet and earning a median hourly wage of around $12 an hour, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In a now-viral video, TikTok user Kimberly (@she_is_like_texas) shows her daughter after a day that she claims lasted from about 5:30am and ended at about 9:15pm, according to the clock visible in the video. Kimberly explains in comments that her daughter had school before going to work.
The video currently has over 1.1 million views.
In the video, one can see Kimberly’s daughter wearing her Whataburger uniform. She appears tired and frazzled, with a hairnet hanging loosely off the front of her backward-turned visor.
“I’ve been up too long,” the woman says in the video.
Kimberly adds in the caption, “She is my hardworking kid.”
In comments, users related to the daughter’s mental state.
“Worked at Whataburger for 3 months,” wrote a user. “Ik her pain.”
“Going to school then straight to work coming home late was rough,” added another. “I don’t miss that.”
“I’ve seen plenty of co-workers leave with their hair net lookin like that at end of shift,” claimed a third.
“Fast food is not for the weak,” a further user shared. “I’ll never do that again.”
Others said that seeing videos like these was important, as it allowed people to better understand how difficult work in this area can be.
“…so many adults don’t know how hard it is to go to public high school and work fast food making [barely] above minimum wage…” detailed a user.
“The same for my girl.. School at 6am then straight to work and doesn’t get home until 11pm,” a second stated. “There are still hard working kids in their generation.”
“Be nice to the kids who go to work straight from school,” an additional TikToker noted. “they are not ok.”
According to a Black Box Intelligence report, only 17% of the limited-service workers are teenagers, but there has been an increase in teens in the workforce as a whole. According to Restaurant Dive, some companies are actively recruiting teens by offering incentives like promoting them to management positions that pay more or offering mentoring programs. Restaurant Dive notes that advantages of hiring teen workers usually don’t have child care obligations that they would need time off for. Some states also allow employers to pay minors less than minimum wage. According an Indeed review, a former worker indicated the Whataburger promotes teens to management positions, calling it “a fun place to work in your teens and you’re able to move on up pretty fast.”