It's amazing how things that seem so insignificant can have such a huge impact on your outlook...
Take, for example, the Drive-Through. I am most likely far more familiar with this entity than just about anyone out there, given the frequency with which I use them to satisfy Joshua's obsession with fries. It's a love-hate relationship. I have to love it because it allows me to keep Josh happy on the go. I hate it because, well, it's gross. I swear to God, if I never see or smell another McD's fry again as long as I live I'll be happy.
I used to like them too. But after so many years of this
it's just TOO. DAMNED. MUCH. They pervade my life, they are
all over my car, they are in the house, the smell has rudely
embedded itself in my nasal passages. I am sure Josh's
cholesterol level is horrifying. I no longer sneak a few out his
box as they kind of make me sick now. I keep hoping that will
happen with Josh too. Soon.
But for now, it's what we do. We get fries for Josh. So I am a regular of the Drive-Throughs. Now in recent years, fast-food has become somewhat less... fast. I get that they are trying to serve "fresher" food, that has not been sitting under heat lamps for a day-and-a-half, I do. But sending you to park for 10 minutes kind of defeats the purpose of the whole drive-through convenience and expeditiousness... um, expediency... does it not? Yes, I actually typed "expeditiousness". And I'm leaving it. BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME, Mr High-and-Mighty Spell-Check program...
ANYWAY, it has been more often than not over the last year or so that whenever I stop to order fries for Josh, I'd say a good 75% of the time we are told to pull ahead and park because "it's going to be a few minutes on those fries". Fantastic. Josh is awesome at waiting. Also, I invented the internet.
So it's been more than a little frustrating. Especially the last few months when Josh was having such a hard time. Like I said, I understand that they are trying to make sure everyone gets fresh, hot, fries. What they don't realize is that I am going to spend at least 5 minutes holding the fry box in front of one of the air vents in the car while I have the A/C blasting at full force in order to cool them off enough for Josh to eat. And given that he will pick up and eat ones that he has dropped on the floor from the day before, I'd say he's not too worried about his fries being "fresh". WE'LL TAKE YOUR STALE, HEAT LAMP SITTING ONES, HONEST! Nope, fresh and hot for everyone. Bastards and their need to give people better food!
All kidding aside, the only real issue I have with this practice is that there is almost always no acknowledgement on their part that they just might have inconvenienced you by doing this. Rarely a "sorry for the wait", never any real attempt to get them out to you when there are some ready - trust me, I've watched as car after car has gone through after me, some getting fries with their orders, while we sit waiting.
That is the part that makes me angry. I totally look like that too. Don't mess with me.
Yesterday, I picked up Josh from school and took him to get some fries as I had promised him the day before - and he may not be able to dress himself, but he certainly remembers things you've told him will or won't happen. Once again, we were asked to go park up front, and that the fries would be "2 minutes". First of all, if they are really only going to be 2 minutes, why can't we just wait at the window? But I know better, and pull up to park, while Josh goes rank in the back seat. I rescue the i-Pad from his wrath, which just makes him angrier, but it was just Josh and I in the car and as long as he can't get the buckle-cover-thing off, I can ignore him fairly well. The 2 minutes turned in to about 10. Then finally the very pretty blonde girl who had sent me to park comes to the car with the fries, and, something else...
"I'm so sorry for the wait, would you like this chocolate shake to make up for having to sit here like that?"
Is it weird that I almost didn't know how to respond? Not once in the 376 million times we've done this has anyone EVER been so sincerely apologetic AND wanted to make amends. At first my thighs and butt were like, "GET BACK WITCH! CHOCOLATE SHAKES ARE THE DEVIL!" but then I came to my senses, "ok, sure, thank you!" (Hell yes I want that shake, gimme...) She apologized again for the wait, and skipped back inside. Well. That was lovely. And I felt... happy. And with that one, simple gesture, she erased all the bad feelings I had about their stupid hot, fresh fries policy. That's all it took.
I went from to all because of
Well really, who wouldn't???
I'm sure it will be another 376 million times before anything like this happens again, but, for the moment it's a nice little faith restorer and I'll be more likely to hit that particular drive-through more often because of it.
AND AS IF THAT WASN'T ENOUGH...
This morning I walked Josh to his classroom as I do every morning when I take him to school. I think he's the only one in his class who doesn't ride a bus. I don't care.
We were on the way down the hall when we ran in to two of his classmates. They are developmentally much higher functioning than Josh, you can have a conversation with them and they are far more independent (hence they were on their way to class on their own). The girl, Hannah, knows Josh from elementary school and remembers me, she is always his mother hen, trying to help him and take his hand, she's very sweet. The boy I don't really know except to have seen him in the class with Josh. They both say "hi Josh's mom!" as we walk by, which is awesome, and I turned and said hello to both of them.
Then, this happened. The boy, who is all of 12 or 13, and I am honestly not sure what his specific issues are, said "you look really pretty today!"
Dude, I'm taking that one. I'm not going to ruin it by deciding that must mean I look terrible all the other times he sees me, I'm taking it for what it was, a sweet, spontaneous, honest thought from someone who has no reason to be anything but. I flashed him a huge smile, said "thank you!" and meant it. Again, such a small thing, but you know, you can't take anything for granted.
In that brief moment, he made me feel like this.
Which isn't a bad way to start the day at all.
A free shake, an unexpected compliment, and the world seems just a little nicer. Doesn't take much.