I know I declared tomorrow an additional holiday – but I simply couldn’t wait. I had to pay for the car behind me and I had to do it now.
I decided that tonight was the night. I went to the ATM to get $30 and headed to McDonald’s. Why $30 cash? One – I didn’t want to use my debit card. McDonald’s employees don’t have to worry about customer confidentiality and could have easily told the person in the car behind me what my name was.
I couldn’t have that.
I got $30 because I knew my portion would be around $5 and who knows who might pull up behind me in line. Could have been a solo person getting a drink or it could have been a family eating dinner. I weighed the possibilities and decided to commit to the bit. $30 it was.
I left the ATM and my nerves/anxiety/excitement started to rise. When I saw the McDonald’s sign I had to turn off my radio to concentrate. Gripping the steering wheel, I turned into McDonald’s – the one place you can guarantee that people will be lined up in the drive thru.
It was empty.
So I stopped just before reaching the menu and just before setting off their little alarm (or whatever they have?) letting them know a customer is there. And I waited. It felt like ages before someone finally pulled up behind me, but I think it was only 30 seconds to a minute. I took a peek in the car and it seemed to be just one man. This is probably going to be very cheap I thought. I ordered and pulled up. Then I started getting even more nervous – what if he takes forever to order and I have to sit here and awkwardly wait for him to finish so that I can get his total and pay? Oh no, there are children in the car! Happy Meals are expensive. No, you’re committed to this bit I told myself. I pulled up to the window to pay and thankfully she finished taking his order before taking my payment. My heart is pounding when I ask
“How much is the car behind me?” she replied with “What did you order?”
Oh no, she doesn’t understand! I’m going to have to say it again!
So I tried to be clearer, “the car behind me, how much is their total?” to which she looks confused at me and checks her screen “$8.31”
“I’d like to pay for theirs, too”
She replies with a slow drawn out “Ohhhkkkayyy…”
She rings it up immediately as they are pulling up behind me in line. I took the change from her hand saying nothing else to her, pulled up to the second window grabbing my food as quickly as I could and sped away. As I drove away, my face broke out in a smile that I simply couldn’t make go away! As soon as I’d pulled out into the street all the nervousness was replaced with complete joy and I looked in the rear view mirror just long enough to see the girl standing at the window talking to the man in the car.
That was an aspect I hadn’t considered – that the person who checked me out would also be the one telling the person that their meal had been taken care of. I had nothing to tell her to say to him, and I realized this when she was handing me my change. I simply thanked her and drove up. I’m sure she was still in shock when the man pulled up expecting to just give her money and move forward. I also had not considered how this might affect her! Her day is so routine, take orders take money take orders take money. Suddenly I came along and changed it – for the better, I hope!
If anybody does this, please comment here and let me know how it went!