Drive Thru Service
Who would have thought a drive-thru meal could teach me a lesson on serving?
Eating meals are an everyday act of service from which the whole family benefits. Still everyone who knows me eventually comes to realize I don’t cook. At least, I try all I can to avoid it. I’m not bad at it and yes I do enjoy the satisfaction that comes with providing a home-cooked meal to my family. It’s just to me cooking is an art and not something I’ve mastered. It’s the timing I get lost in. What do you start when so it all comes together without being undercooked, burned, or too cold? I’ve watched two amazing cooks growing up, my mom and my grandmother. Now these two ladies can COOK! In fact, if there was a Cooks Hall of Fame I would nominate both of them. I’ve seen them master the nuances of both big and small meals with a finesse that puts Paula Dean and Rachael Ray to shame.
Lucky for me when it comes to my family’s meals I still rely on my amazing mom and her culinary talents. And when she’s not available my remarkable husband, Michael, can fill in the gaps with his own cooking flair. And when neither of them is available you guessed it the nearest drive-thru comes to my rescue.
And so it was that I found myself selecting an establishment on one such evening in an effort to feed my family. It just happened to be one of my least liked but Michael’s favorite and I selected it thinking about what a treat it was going to be for him. I admit, I was feeling pretty good about myself and went happily to the task of ordering. Now Michael would tell you he hates placing orders on my behalf and here’s why. At the precise moment when the voice comes over the box requesting an order to be placed I become horrifically indecisive. It isn’t that the menu items aren’t appealing. Rather, I’m torn between selecting one of the lower-calorie menu items and the fear that I’ll be left unsatisfied against choosing one of the tantalizing options sure to bring on guilt over the amount of fat and calories I would consume. And while I’m doing the calorie math, tastebud check and guilt thing in my head he’s left looking like the nitwit unable to make up his mind to the employee impatiently asking “anything else?”
However, as I began to place my order this particular evening I was surprised by the very friendly greeting I received. I was already off to a great start to the whole process I loathed. You see this particular employee went beyond her gracious greeting to engage with me during the selection process. I asked questions and she happily answered them. I was undecided and she patiently made suggestions. I never felt rushed or demoralized for taking too long. After completing the transaction and driving off with my order I was suddenly convicted. Not about feeding my family fast food but how often I am not as patient with my family as this young attendant was to me.
How often have I told my daughter with full exasperation to hurry up and make up her mind? How many times have I greeted my husband with a half-hearted hello at the end of the day? I learned a valuable lesson on what it means to serve with patience and grace. To be attentive to the needs of others. To offer timely suggestions without pressuring for immediate decisions. And most importantly to never make someone else feel as if I’m rushing past him or her and on to the next task as if he or she is somehow less important. I’m still working through the old me and into the new one but my heart has gleefully changed for the better.
Oh and the establishment still isn’t my favorite place to eat although I do hold a new appreciation for it. In fact every time I see it I resolve all over again to model the behavior I received as a gift. And I whisper a heartfelt thanks to God for allowing me to learn a lesson on serving from a very unlikely source.