Working fast food I come across all sorts of people. There are the people who just seem way too happy. There are the ones who seem like they have had a lot better days. There are ones who seem so neutral that they don’t even know how they feel. There are the ones who go out into the world with a mission to make someone’s day better, and those whose mission is to make someone’s day worse. When I work back cash in drive thru I get to see all of these people on a daily basis.
On this particular day I witnessed someone’s act of kindness completely stun and turn around someone on an angry rampage. At my fast food restraint there are two order taking speakers and once a costumer is done ordering the lanes from both speakers merge and to come to my window to pay. I had just finished taking an order when I heard a bunch of angry yelling and the honking of a car horn coming from a car in the drive thru lane. I wondered to myself what the commotion was all about.
The next car to come to my window had a mother and her three children. I confirmed which order was hers and then swiped her credit card; while I was waiting for the transaction to complete I heard the yelling and honking again and realized it was coming from the man and wife in the car directly behind the car at my window. I gave the woman a puzzled look and she explained to me that she accidentally cut the man off in line after she was done ordering and she was clearly upset she had done so. I thought to myself “Wow, what an a**” as I handed the lady back her card. She looked at me and said “Wait, I want to pay for his order too.” This shocked me, I did not understand why she would want to pay for this guys order when he was being such a mean person to her and her kids. So after I swiped her card again and his order was paid for I said “Is there anything you would like me to say to him?” she said “No, just tell him I paid for it.”
When he pulled up to my window he was red faced and angry, I looked at him and said “The lady ahead of you paid for your order.” His face turned from anger to confusion and then to remorse once he realized how upset he had gotten over such a small thing. He looked forward and then back at me and then forward again, and then stuck his arm out the window and waved to the lady in the car ahead of him. He looked back at me and nodded, I nodded back, and he drove forward.
Sometimes it just takes something small to snap us out of our own little angry world and bring us back to the reality that we are all in this together. The majority of the time people are not out there to hurt one another. When things happen, there is usually more to it than what it seems. That lady did not intentionally cut the man off in my drive thru, but she did decide to take an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s day and pay it forward.