Yesterday when I took Aisling to her piano lessons, I went to the McDonald's drive-thru near the piano teacher's house to get myself a Diet Coke and an oatmeal cookie. But a snack was not my only mission: I was also on an errand of sorts.
Here's the thing: Last winter, when it was still really freaking cold outside, I went to this same McDonald's to get a cup of coffee and an oatmeal cookie. As I pulled up to the drive-thru, shivering in the freezing air that rushed through my window, the cashier looked out and said with a smile, "You're good to go. The lady in the car ahead of you paid for your order and told me to tell you to have a nice day."
I peered ahead at the car, thinking that maybe it was one of my friends, but I didn't recognize the vehicle. In fact, it was from a county east of my home county, one that I don't often go to because my life tends to operate west towards Indianapolis. No, I definitely didn't know the driver, but at that moment, we became friends.
Since there was no way to thank her -- she turned right out of the parking lot and headed for the interstate -- I decided that I'd do the same thing for someone someday. And would you believe, I've had the HARDEST TIME EVER accomplishing this seemingly simple task?
For one thing, if someone pulls up behind me in the drive-thru line, I have to make sure it's just one person and not an entire family ordering a meal. I think my husband would quite possibly frown on a debit transaction at McDonald's where I paid for my own soda and cookie and also $22 for two extra value meals, four Happy Meals and a chocolate shake.
Another consideration is that it can't be a busy time, because it would be too hard to explain what I want to do -- I have a tendency to babble like a lunatic when I'm nervous -- with a huge line of cars behind me and a cashier anxious to just take my money and move me along, with no interest whatsoever in hearing about my do-gooder-isms. Fortunately, piano lessons are from 1:00-2:00, which isn't usually a crowded time. Or so you'd think.
So far, every single time I've gone to this McDonald's for the past six months, there's been a caravan of cars lined up behind me, and every single one of them is full like one of those cars at the circus that holds fifteen clowns and a poodle. Why? WHY?
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