“I thought it was crazy. What happens if you move on, I mean Miami?” Lear said. “My boss texted me when they found out I was going to Florida and my mom was so surprised. I said, ‘No, Mom, I’m really fast.’”
Lear, who got a job at Burger King her sophomore year of high school, has set her sights high for her future. The 19-year-old takes 13 credit hours and studies business management at IUK. Lear added her Whopper-making experience could be an interesting interview topic someday. But, Lear said, the best reaction she received about her trip to Florida was from her professors.
“One professor told me, ‘That’s the best excuse I’ve heard,’” Lear said with a snicker.
Lear took her “best excuse” and competitive strategies to Miami late last month and returned home with $500 and 19th place out of 200,000 Whopper competitors.
Lear said she got more nervous than she had hoped she would while standing at the counter in the massive conference center with all the other contestants. Cameras streamed their every move and 300 people looked on.
“I was so nervous my hands were shaking,” Lear said. “Everybody’s times increased. Everyone was telling what their times were then they all went up during the competition from being so nervous.”
Lear typically can make a Whopper in 14 seconds. On competition day she made one in 17 seconds. The Whopper-challenge winner made a Whopper in 12 seconds.
However, 17 seconds still earned Lear a top 20 place, some cash and a meeting with Burger King’s CEO, who gave her some career insight.
“He seemed nice and he asked me [about myself],” Lear said. “I told him I was 19 and going to college while working. He was surprised I was doing business management and he told me there were more jobs for people with store experience and a degree, where you could move higher up.”