It's your birthday. Friends and family take you to out to a celebration dinner, and the wait-staff joins in a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" as they serve dessert.
Cheerful delivery or not, most servers would much rather be hustling hot food or topping off your coffee than serenading you.
Ogden's Sasha Pressley is an exception to the rule. She is a 25-year-old Caesarean labor-and-delivery technician at St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City. She also works occasionally at Chili's in Harrisville, where she has made a name for herself as the go-to gal for a birthday song.
With a big alto voice that belies her petite physique, Pressley can nail the well-known birthday tune, and much more besides, in soulful fashion.
A native of Detroit, Pressley grew up musically influenced by the sound of Motown and gospel. Her mother is her first and only voice teacher; she taught her to sing in the style of such emotional artists as Mahalia Jackson.
As for Pressley's side career as a birthday chanteuse, it started by happenstance on a busy weekend night at Chili's.
"A little while back, someone came in and wanted 'Happy Birthday' sung to them -- a 16-year-old girl," said Pressley. "Well, Chili's doesn't really have a company happy-birthday song they sing, like some restaurants do, so I was just trying to get other employees to go out and sing 'Happy Birthday' along with me."
The other servers were swamped. Not wanting to disappoint the girl on her milestone birthday, Pressley delivered a complimentary sundae, with a special side of birthday soul.
Pressley laughed. "When I am in a loud place, like it was in Chili's that night, I guess I sing louder. The entire restaurant stopped talking and were watching. And I was like, 'OK, awkward!' but I kept going."
She brought the house down. Miles Clark, a bartender at Chili's and also a friend of Pressley's, said, "We are all just amazed by her, and her voice. She does just an incredible version of the song. Word got around and now people ask if she'll be working, and try to plan their visit around when she will be, so she can sing for them. And if other employees have a party, they will ask her if she will come sing for their guests, too. People love her."
Pressley's mother is Cynthia Pressley-Shelton, an accomplished business consultant who is also an associate dean at Ogden's Stevens-Henager College.
A performer herself -- she was the first African-American to be cast in a 1999 production of the play "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" -- Pressley-Shelton said her daughter always had a fine voice, and had a star turn singing on the Jerry Lewis Telethon when she was just 9 years old.
So at 16, when Pressley wanted to try out for "American Idol," Pressley-Shelton drove her daughter to Chicago to do so.
Said Pressley: "We waited outside at the Bears' stadium for hours. It was raining, and pretty horrible, and I didn't get past the first round."
Pressley's second tryout for the Fox singing contest was in Salt Lake City three years ago, after the family moved to Utah. Pressley didn't make it past the first round that time, either.
"We found out, from talking to other contestants there at the tryouts, that if you aren't in that first 200 or so that they see, that they are no longer looking for the real talent. After that, they are just looking for the jokes, the acts they make fun of in those early rounds of the season on the show," said Pressley-Shelton. "And we were not in that first few hundred contestants either time."
"That was it for me," Pressley said. "Singing was never the only thing I wanted to do with my life."
Pressley was attending Eastern Michigan University, with the ultimate goal of getting into veterinarian school. When her mother and brother relocated to Ogden during those years, Pressley decided to follow the family and change her plans a bit.
"Sasha has always wanted to be many things -- a singer, a vet, a trauma tech, many ambitions," said her mother. "I've told her not to limit herself to any one thing, to try and be everything she wants to be."
Because her mother was a dean at Stevens-Henager College, Pressley was able to study there at no charge.
"So I just changed my studies slightly, and took the surgical tech program, which in many ways was similar to the area I was already studying. Now that I've worked in that area, and got to do my externship in the OR, I think I like this better, and will stick with it."
Pressley is not a bit squeamish about the gorier aspects of assisting in surgery and dealing with traumatic injury.
An avowed tomboy, she said that the "blood and guts" is part of the attraction for her. She now thinks she'd like to work in the trauma unit, or perhaps become a registered nurse and stay in labor and delivery. She also considers studying further in order to be an assistant to an orthopedist.
"I guess it is the brutal, surgical side that attracts me -- the hip replacements and knee replacements and rotator-cuff repairs. Anything that has to do with breaking the bone, plating, screws. I like all that. It is chaotic, but very interesting."
She said she loves the fact there is a set of tools -- hammers and screws and drills and such -- that goes along with orthopedics. She said she'll never forget her first hip-replacement assist, as an extern.
"The intern said to me, 'I need you to hammer this hip replacement, and hit it hard. No, harder! Hit is like you are trying to break your brother's toys!' " Pressley laughed. "So I did. It was very stress-relieving."
As for singing, Pressley said she plans to keep doing it for her own pleasure and that of others for now.
"I would be open to a singing career, if something were to happen. But right now, it really is just something I do for fun. I've got plenty of other things going on."