Road Rage in the Drive-Thru

by Patrick G Howard

You won’t believe what happened the other day.

Anybody that has known me for more than a couple of weeks knows that I love Whataburger. That orange and white striped roof is like a lighthouse guiding me safely home. Well, this is where our story starts – in the drive-thru at Whataburger.

It was about lunch-thirty when I arrived at the ordering kiosk. The line was full in front of me, as well as behind. I wanted to get out of there and go inside, but I was stuck. Even though I was getting hangry, I knew that my meal would be well worth the wait. Unfortunately, some people have no patience.

As I started to tell the nice girl on the other side of that speaker what I wanted, the lady in the Prius behind me started honking her horn to get me to hurry up. I guess she was in a hurry to get somewhere, and I couldn’t help but wonder what had her feathers ruffled.

Now, I try to treat everybody right, even when they don’t deserve it. I thought that she was probably having a bad day, and I didn’t want to make it any worse. When I got to the first window to pay, I thought, “You should pay for the meal for that lady in the Prius.”

So, I did.

I must have made her day. When she found out that I paid for her meal, she started smiling, and even waved at me to show her gratitude. I was quite proud of myself, thinking that I had somehow made her day a little better.

A few minutes later, I arrived at the pickup window. When the girl handed me that bag of deliciousness, the aroma of that burger and fries hit me. I had forgotten how hungry I was, and I couldn’t wait to get home to chow down on my #3. As I was about to leave, I thought about that lady behind me again; and then I drove off.

I really wish I could have seen her face when she realized that I took her food, as well.

Our focus this month comes from Romans 12:17.

Do not repay evil for evil but consider doing what is honorable.

There are those times.

There are those times when business has been down for a while, and you don’t know how you are going to keep the lights on another week. (If you haven’t experienced that yet, you will.) Just when you think there is no way out of your predicament, a customer walks into your business. This customer knows what she wants and is ready to buy now.

What do you do?

I am reminded of the story Delisle taught me about the lady and the meat market. (I won’t be able to tell it like he does, but maybe I won’t butcher it too badly.)

Schnitzelov’s Meat Market was the place everybody in town goes to. Their meat was top quality, and you could always count on Joe to be friendly and honest.

One day, Mrs. Thompson walked into Joe’s shop. She was a kind, elderly lady with a reputation for cooking up the best fried chicken in town. Well, she had family coming over that night and needed a chicken to cook. Mrs. Thompson walked up to the counter and told Joe her predicament.

As it turns out, it was late in the day and Joe only had one chicken left. Now this was a fine looking chicken, to be sure, but it was a little on the small side. When Joe placed it on the scale, it barely moved the needle, showing a weight of only two pounds.

Mrs. Thompson looked at the chicken and said, “Oh, that won’t do at all. I have some hungry people coming over. Do you have another one, Joe?”

Joe was known for his accommodating nature and always went the extra mile for his customers. He smiled at Mrs. Thompson and said, “Of course. Let me find you a larger chicken.”

Now, Joe had a little trick up his sleeve. Joe took that chicken to the back of his shop and returned a few moments later with the same one. You see, he put the chicken in a bowl of water; and after a few minutes it had plumped up ever so slightly.

Joe returned with the plumped-up chicken and placed it on the scale, and it now weighed almost three pounds. Mrs. Thompson said, “That looks much better, Joe. I’ll take that one.”

Joe wrapped up that chicken as fast as he could, so Mrs. Thompson wouldn’t notice what he did. She turned and headed for the cash register at the front of the store.

Joe was quite happy with himself. He made Mrs. Thompson very happy, and he made a little extra profit from that sale. His glee was short-lived, though.

You see, Mrs. Thompson took a few steps, stopped and turned around. Walking back up to the counter, she said, “You know what, Joe? I think I want both chickens.”

We all have these moments.

We are often faced with choosing between our own needs or our customers’. It is these moments that define us as Christians. It would be very simple to merely misrepresent our product or service to make a sale. After all, the customer would never know.

The author C. S. Lewis once said, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching.” And as Christians, we are called to do what is right, not what is convenient. We are called to do this all day, every day, at home, at work, and in the community.

I know you’re still thinking about the lady in the Prius at Whataburger. Let me set your mind at ease. It didn’t really happen. (But you secretly wish that it did.)

The next time you are faced with this type of dilemma, don’t give it a second thought. Just do the right thing, knowing that God’s plan is perfect. Knowing that He has something better planned for you. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, remember what happened when Eve became the first person to ignore Apple’s terms of service.

As you go into the world today, remember our focus.

Do not repay evil for evil but consider doing what is honorable.