Tuesday, May 21, 2013


It was late, and I was hungry. So I went to a nearby fast food drive thru to get a little something to eat. The wait was a little long, and by the time I got home I was all set to dig in. Except my food was wrong. And it wasn't the sort of wrong where I could sort of fix it and eat it anyway, so I hopped back into my car and drove to the restaurant. I went through the drive thru, told them how my order was messed up, and they corrected it. When I got home, I was crabby. And my food, while technically correct, was thrown together sloppily. I was so irritated. I went to the company website and sent in a complaint. They hadn't even apologized for their mistake! They owed me.

And then today I got a call from the manager. A voicemail, actually, since I was at work, and he asked me to call back because he'd like to give me a free meal. I thought about it before I called him back. I've worked in fast food. I know that there is a chain of people who deal with each order and it's not everyone's fault. I know that it's stressful and crazy. I also know that I did in fact get what I paid for, and since it's close to where I live I'll be back again. After all, the woman who's usually on drive thru in the late afternoon is really nice and great at her job.

I called the manager. He apologized, and I told him that I used to work in fast food. I get it. And I told him that I knew the customer experience was important and figured they'd like to know what was going on. He said that they had just hired a handful of new people and were still training them. I told him I'd be back as a customer because it's nearby.

When this happened, I was actually sort of angry that they didn't reimburse my meal right away. Today I realized that I don't need it. I don't want to be the sort of person who feels entitled to compensation for every mistake that someone makes. I need to have a little (or a lot) more grace when it comes to dealing with people. After all, I want them to have grace for me when I make mistakes. If I were to find a wallet, would I feel entitled to a reward for returning it? I hope not, because the motivation for doing the right thing should simply be that it is right. Life shouldn't be about what we can get, it should be about what we can do.