Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reminder in the Drive Thru

I had a very thought provoking and hopeful experience this morning. I got home and couldn't wait to share it with everyone. Let me know if you have any specific thoughts stirred by this exchange.

As this is my (self-imposed) last day of dietary freedom, I got out to get McDonald's breakfast, in spite of the slick conditions. It wasn't heavy snow or ice, mind you, just the fact that no road crews had been out and about. Anyway, as I was rounding the intersection, just before McDonald's, an SUV cut me off, just to pull into the same McDonald's entrance a car-length ahead of us. Grrr. Now, there may be some mornings that I would respond with a honk or a shaking fist (or finger), but this morning, all my seething was on the inside. I just thought to myself, "I really hope this bonehead gets his all-important breakfast" and such. I had all but forgotten about the incident until he spent a while at the pay window. Then, much to my current embarrassment, I wondered if he couldn't count or if he was telling them to spit in my food.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the window to find that he had paid for my breakfast. Honestly, I choked up. Just a simple wave out the window was the only acknowledgment he gave and the only thanks I was permitted to offer. But what happened in the drive thru will stay with me. To me, it was a great reminder of the fact that each of us in our separate worlds, which occasionally collide (hopefully not literally), are equally important and equally human. Who am I to assume knowledge of another person's state of mind? The mistakes that we make with strangers, while driving, shopping, eating out, just make us more alike. I'm constantly making mistakes. I do not make up for them for strangers the way this gentleman did.

I'll be looking for a chance to pay it forward. But I feel like what I got from him was more than breakfast. It was a new lease on seeing strangers as friends instead of enemies. That's a great way to start out a new decade. Thanks, guy.


  1. Good thing you didn't give him the finger. That would have been awkward.

  2. Great story. Giving random strangers the benefit of the doubt is something I'm not great at (I'll admit, I'm terrible at it), but your experience is enough to make me want to try harder to do that. Thanks for sharing it!

    Who knows what kind of day a person's having when they happen to come around...