Frenship graduate balances family and work

Kurt EliasBy Jim Jarrett

A customer pushes a button at the Sonic Drive-In at 82nd Street and U.S. 62-82.

“Welcome to Sonic. May I help you?” says Kurt Elias, the assistant manager.

He sounds cheerful in the final frantic minutes of the drive-in’s afternoon happy hour on sodas. Car hops rush from the kitchen to parked cars, hustling their red trays filled with beverages to customers.

“It’s really a fast-paced job,” said Elias as he sat down after the happy-hour rush. “We try to create a friendly environment here. From my standpoint, it’s what I want to create in terms of management — create a safe, peaceful environment.”

At 29, Elias has his priorities. It’s his family, friends and work. He’s competing to move up the ladder at Sonic. Elias continues to learn how to deal with people and how to operate a business.

Recently, a customer swiped his credit card and was charged twice. Elias couldn’t return the money to the customer until the end of the month. He explained to the customer banks sometimes remove the swipe. The customer left, less angry, with a better understanding and a free ice cream cone.

“He felt better … I love customers and taking care of customers, making sure they are taken care of,” said Elias.

Kurt Elias

Age: 29.
Occupation: Assistant manager, Sonic Drive-In.
Favorite food: Italian.
Where do you want to be a year from now? Manager of a Sonic Drive-In.
High school: Attended Frenship elementary and middle schools, graduated from Lubbock High School in 1997.
Where are you today: Now lives in the Frenship Community.
Church: St. John Neumann Catholic Church.
Dog or cat? Dog.
Family: Wife, Elizabeth; sons, Kristopher and Anthony; daughter, Adrianna.

He enjoys learning new things on the job. “What’s cool about this job is you are learning something,” said Elias.

His goal the next year is to become a manager.

“This is what I am looking forward to doing,” said Elias. “Actually, I’d like to move into management and into a partnership.”

Elias attended school at Frenship until about seventh-grade. He then went to Lubbock ISD and graduated in 1997.

Several years ago, he ran into someone he remembered from Frenship.

“What’s your name?” asked the person.

“Kurt.”

“No, there’s another name.”

“I used to go by Brandon,” he said.

The young man introduced himself as Edmond and they reminisced for several minutes.

The best days of Elias’ life weren’t at the Sonic Drive-In or meeting an old friend. It was seeing his three children born. His heart skipped a beat each time, he said.

“My first two were born premature,” he said. “There was a chance of them not making it. You just pray to God and hope everything is OK. Everything was and I thank God for that. The third went full term. I thank God they are still with me. I love them to death.”

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