I was a "rink rat" at Sunrise Junior High school when I was a kid. I closed the rink down at 9:00 at least 5-6 days a week. Fred would stop by often at closing time to inspect the rink and tell the workers to flood. He noticed me always shovling, which of course many skaters tried to avoid. After this happened several times, he came up and gave me a cup of coke from the warming house vending machine and thanked me. A bit later that winter, having found me at my regular spot, he asked if I'd be interested in getting paid to shovel the rink. That was 1976 and he hired me to be a rink worker, if memory serves me, at .80 cents an hour. I worked for Fred year around all the way through high school and college from 1976-1985.
The first few years, we had no equiptment for snow removal other than shovels and will. Eventually we got these sweet Toro snow machines with heated cabs. We'd have to go to Fred's house and pick the keys up for the truck and blower when it snowed. Then we'd have to drop them off when we were done. As far as I knew, the man didn't sleep. We came and went 24-7 in those snowy years.
One time I was about 45 minutes late picking up the keys for some reason. I knew Fred would give me a stern look and disapproving head shake. "Mrs. Espe" answered the door and invited me in. Fred walked past me to grab his coat because he was coming with me to see the rink conditions. Mrs. Espe saw that I was a bit unnerved by his plan and said, "relax Mike, he likes you just fine, he just doesn't like snow".
Both were great people, who always treated me with respect, even when I was a dumb kid who screwed up as kids tend to do. I haven't spoken with Fred in a few years, but I know Heaven has some great rinks now, and some poor soul is getting chewed on for putting too much water down at once!