Brooke had a problem with cocaine after a cook at Cheddar’s provided for her friend Gabby who she used to drink with in the parking lot.

One day while the partners headed to their car for a few drinks, Gabby pulled out some cocaine a cook gave her. Brooke resisted, but could not help watching as her friend snorted the white powder from the dash of her car. It didn’t look so bad so she gave it a shot. Brooke loved the way it made her feel hyper, which she says is nice as a server. Benito, the cook, started to front cocaine to her but would ask for double the money.

“He’d be like, you owe me $200 dollars and I’d be like, what the fuck, you gave me like such a little amount,” Brooke says. “But he was a big scary Mexican guy. I couldn’t really say no.”

When she tried escaping the habit, he would wait for her in the parking lot after work and she would try to avoid him because she didn’t want him to tell anyone. No one knew, even her best friends, some of whom she worked with.

“Someone actually sent a picture of me and her doing it in the bathroom stall to one of my best friends,” Brooke says. “So who the fuck knows how that happened and how we didn’t notice.”

Brooke, clearly having issues, would be angry, never had money and never had time. One night, her she got drunk, sat her best friend down and told her.

“She was like, are you joking? And I was like, of course I’m not joking, who would joke about that,” she says. “Of course I’m not joking.”

Her friend stopped talking to Brooke completely and said she had to stop. Eventually, Brooke got out of it because her friends were not talking to her and she had no money.

One day, Brooke went on a binge and did a lot, more than she had ever done.

“I was also taking Mollies and drinking,” Brooke says. “I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a Molly but you’re up, so happy and then when the sun comes up you’re like fuck, have I really been up that whole time?”

Brooke was doing coke to make up for it when she “freaked the fuck out and had a breakdown.”

Crying, Brooke called another of her best friends who doesn’t drink. Her friend comforted her and took her to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting that night. She promised to keep her in check.

“She was really strict on me, like I will tell your mother if you don’t stop,” Brooke says. “It was really nice.”

All Brooke cares about is moving her family to Colorado and money, so the decision to quit doing drugs was great for her financially. “I was so happy about that especially since I was working my ass off for nothing,” she says.

Now Brooke Hughes, on a two-hour break from her new job as a server at Iron Cactus, walks to Deep Ellum to have some lunch.

“It’s a restaurant so it’s hard work, but it’s good money,” she says.

After Cheddar’s, Brooke worked at Mi Cocina and then Del Frisco’s Steakhouse where she had to quit when her car broke. Afterwards, Brooke found a job at Family Video who promised her a management position. It did not work out and frustrated at the pay drop from $22 an hour at Del Frisco’s to $7.25 at Family Video, she left.

“There’s only a Chili’s an Applebee’s and some mom and pop restaurants out there and I knew I needed to make some quick money,” Brooke says.

Now, Brooke is trying to get out her mother’s garage where she lives with her boyfriend.

“From living on my own to moving back in with my mom and her boyfriend has just been awful,” Brooke says.

“I was such a good girl. I was a virgin until I was like 19 and had a purity ring and went to Dallas Baptist University,” she says.

Brooke attended DBU for a semester where she took 18 hours, failing remedial math. The next semester all her scholarships and federal aid was cut.

“So that’s kind of embarrassing,” she says. “I way overdid it so now I have a lot of debt and I dropped out of school.”

Brooke has to walk like two miles at 8 a.m. to take a train to from Rowlett and is afraid she’s going to burn out fast. It’s a journey, but she loves the job and working downtown.

“Maybe for some people that’s okay because they’re in shape,” Brooke says out of breath as she reaches her destination, Café Brasil, “But from working in a video store 10 hours a week to walking and then serving all day and then walking, it’s just so exhausting.”


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