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Hicham

[I worked with] marble and granite stone tile, I make hotels and, you know, buildings and everything. Like civil engineering. It’s not the same thing, but it’s like mechanical engineering, because I studied four years civil engineering and make master’s degree mechanical engineering. … I came to here, I needed a license to work, you know? I have to make Ph.D., maybe study in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Marquette University ….

This Dairy Queen, the owner here is a cousin of my father-in-law. … I come here, I don’t know anything about Dairy Queen or restaurants. I am engineer. But I came here; I start to work. I love this job. It’s a wonderful owner, too, very good boss. Cause when you work somewhere you have to love this work, you know what I mean? I love this work too much. I’m still here. About 18 months I work at the Dairy Queen.

Reporter asks: Why do you turn the ice cream upside down?

It means the ice cream’s very hard, very thick. People like this. ... It’s funny.

The first time I worked in Dairy Queen — it’s very hard when you are engineer and do work in restaurant, you know. The first time I have shock, you know: “It’s not my job.” Every job is good. Any job. I don’t care about jobs. … I came to here, worked in very, very small job, for me. But I like it. Now, I’m very happy. …

I have to know more and more and more of everything. … I have too much dream. I dream to make some area — I design it, I make everything in this area. … I’d like to do planning. Big plan for this area. … Maybe I do it — or not.

Sometimes, if you are doctor or engineer, you don’t know anything different. That’s Dairy Queen for me, different. And I have now another [career] I know. Sometimes people need something different to do. It gives you a different perspective, yeah. Maybe if I do not engineer, I open restaurant. I don’t know. Business is business. I can do business, too.

I like these people. Because everybody comes through here, I speak a little English, they help me. The people help me, you know? “That’s good, I understand you, but I don’t need this, I don’t need that. …” The first one week, I was — very problems. I don’t know nothing, you know? The people: “That’s OK. We got it. That’s fine. I like.”

Maybe somebody says, “No, this is not good.” Then another one. Five, 10, 15 [complaints] — maybe I lose my job, you know? The people help me. Now, I know everything. — As told to Melissa Scott Sinclair; photographed by Scott Elmquist.

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