Thursday, March 23, 2017

23 of 31: The Not So Fast Drive-Thru

"What would you like for lunch?" I asked.

"Well I like McDonalds," she replied without looking up from her coloring book. Her brand new Mr. Sketch cherry scented marker in hand as she carefully filled in the lines of her coloring book.

"Well are you a cheeseburger or chicken nugget kind of a girl?" I responded marveling at her concentration.

"Chicken nugget. But do you think I'm an apple slice or fry kind of girl?" a smile tugged at her lips.

"That's a tough one. Let me think."

"Oh, I'll give you a hint. I love mashed potatoes," and she paused her coloring to consider me as I pondered.

I rubbed my chin for dramatic effect and then exclaimed, "French fries it is!"

With that settled, I left my friend Laurie's 7-year-old daughter, Adie, with my mom and retrieved my car keys and purse.

I could not tell you the last time I was at McDonalds, but I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of line. I pulled right up and politely ordered a happy meal. Now, you are asked if you want that for a girl or boy. I wondered when that started. I certainly didn't remember that from when I was a kid, but alas, that was a long time ago.

The first window opened and I reached out my hand with crumpled bills and thanked the attendant.

Slowly, I pulled up to the second window and waited less than two minutes. A friendly young man smiled as he opened the window and passed me a Hi-C in the smallest of cups. Then he handed me a bag and wished me a nice day.

I pulled away thinking that this happy meal was, in fact, going to make one little girl very happy.

Six minutes later, I pulled into my garage and walked in feeling a bit like Santa sneaking down the chimney. Adie still colored and when she saw me, she commented on how fast I was. I made a silly joke about the virtues of fast food.

And then we looked in the bag. I found a small bag of hot french fries that even I have to admit smelled tempting. I found the tiny Barbie doll gift. I found napkins, ketchup, and barbeque sauce. What I did not find were the chicken nuggets.

I knew it was too good to be true. I picked up my purse and grumbled that I would be right back. Clearly, I'm so out of practice at a drive-thru window that I had forgotten the cardinal rule of checking the bag before pulling out of the parking lot. So, back to McDonald's I drove.

Again, fate smiled down on me about the same time the sun peaked its bashful head out for the first time all day. I pulled right up to the ordering station, explained my unfortunate situation, and was directed to pull straight up to the second window.

The same smiling young man opened the window though I noted he didn't make quite the level of eye-contact as he did our first encounter just minutes before. He quickly handed me a small bag and gave me the same have a nice day line. I smiled in reply and pulled away.

It wasn't until I was down the street a bit that it occurred to me that a, "Sorry about that," would have gone a long way to assuage my annoyance at having to make a return trip.

I could have grumbled or demanded my money back, but honestly that didn't even occur to me. My only thought was getting the chicken nuggets home so that Adie could enjoy them with her french fries.

After all, I've made mistakes. I've certainly messed up. And that's life. Sometimes the order is right the first time and sometimes, we have to circle back and revisit the window a second time.

Ultimately, I had the pleasure of watching Adie munch her chicken nuggets after making sure she counted them to ensure accuracy. It was worth both trips.


  1. A perfect slice! I love how you stretched everything out to include all of the tiny details.

  2. Your title pulled me in. I haven't been to a MacDonald's in quite a while, but I do remember getting burned in the drive through at several fast food places. Nice job of recounting your experience!

  3. I agree, an apology goes a long way. I think we are not training employees to say this. It is such a kind thing to do! I loved, loved, loved her question to you, "But do you think I'm an apple slice or fry kind of girl?"

  4. What a great slice! I like how you contrasted the eye contact between the two visits. It's certainly interesting to ponder! At least Adie got her chicken nuggets. All's well that ends well!