Daniel GRAYSON, 44, was born in Northern California and has lived all over the country, waiting tables, working as a bank teller and taking odd jobs. He now works at the Grove, the huge commercial complex just east of the Farmers Market. One of L.A.'s newest malls, the Grove has department stores, snack and coffee shops, vendor kiosks, natural stone paths, a bubbling artificial brook and a Pacific Theatres' multiplex, where Grayson is one of the employees who wear spiffy '40s-style uniforms and ever-present smiles.
On the job
Theater employees are assigned by shift and handle any number of tasks. "I always try to be a ticket-taker or ... to work at the snack bar, if I can," Grayson says with a smile. "I enjoy the people. I get to feel a part of everything. Sometimes I get to have conversations with guests. We get into discussions about the movies. Sometimes I even help them select the films they'll see."
"I see as many films as I can. I love the movies. And if anyone -- employee or guest -- wants to know about a movie, they come to me. And I like that."
Plenty of perks
"In this job I wait on movie stars like Lucy Liu, Ben [Affleck] and Jennifer [Lopez] and others. But even without the celebrities, I like my work. I enjoy people in general. I'm here because I love the interaction. This is a fabulous environment to work in. There's a very young staff and many of the people are on their first job. Some could be a little nicer, but most are great.
"And the Grove is so beautiful, with the fountain and everything -- it's close to the Farmers Market. It's wonderful. The people who come here seem to have higher expectations. And that makes it even better."
Life on his own
Grayson starts his day at the gym with a workout. For lunches, he heads next door to one of the many eateries at the Farmers Market. Estranged from his wife, he says "loneliness is hard, but I'm writing a three-character play and I write poetry at night."
-- Carolyn Patricia Scott