Thursday, May 6, 2010

drive-thru etiquette....

Today is the National Day of Prayer... I was thinking on my drive to work how important it is to pray for others, especially those we don't even know. I was listening to K-Love and praying for my family and friends. I then began to think about praying for those I don't know. I stopped at McDonalds drive-thru for my morning coffee and much to my surprise I don't know proper drive-thru etiquette.

I am used to ordering at the speaker, but drive thru's have changed! Now, many drive-thru's have two speakers in which you can place your order, apparently to "speed things up". I am not sure if it really is faster or it's an illusion for all of us in a hurry... Next, you have to figure out which vehicle ordered first and who should go first in line... it can be confusing. I wonder how many people get the wrong food because of this or pay for the wrong order.

Back to my morning... I notice that there are cars at both speakers and a SUV is waiting in line behind the car at the first speaker... I assume that this SUV has "chosen" the line that they are in, so I go around them and head to the second speaker. But oh no..... the SUV was waiting in "both lines" to see which speaker opens up first, so she is angry... not just a little angry, but very angry! She pulls up behind me, honking her horn like crazy and she looks MAD. I didn't look to see if she was waving any fists or fingers at me, but I get the message... she is angry at me for cutting in front of her in the drive-thru line.

So much for my prayerful drive to work... wow, I'm thinking about praying for people and here I am being rude to another person, not intentionally, but still I have a cross hanging from my rearview mirror and that is not a very Christian way to act. So, I pray for the woman behind me and pull up to the window to pay. Have you ever had those moments when you feel that "spiritual nudge"... when God is asking you to do something you don't necessarily "want to do"? This was that type of moment for me, so I pay for my coffee and ask the clerk, "How much is the person behind me's order?" She looks at me strangely and says, "Do you know her?" I say, "No, I don't know her, but I think she was upset with me for cutting in front of her and I would like to pay for her order." She looks at me like.. you're crazy... but I paid for her order and moved on up to get my coffee.

I, of course, am looking in my rearview mirror to see the interaction between the cashier and the lady in the SUV. She pulls up, still with an angry look on her face. She reaches to pay the cashier and the cashier apparently told her that her order had already been paid for. She looked perplexed and then suddenly a smile broke out on her face. I, of course, do not know what she was thinking, but she suddenly looked more relaxed, waved a "thank you" at me and smiled. I think to myself, random acts of kindness benefit many people, not just the person receiving the kindness, but the "giver", as well as those that witness the act of kindness. I will pray for the woman in the SUV - I don't know what is going on in her life, but I can pray for her and try to make a difference. I wonder if this exchange will make modify her perception of people or in the very least, her attitude for today. I know that it changed mine!

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