I’ve worked in a drive-thru for a good portion of my adult life. I can take your order, make your 10-creams-and 13-sugars coffee, bag your hash browns, and hand out another order all within a minute – skills I’m sure will be most vital in the future.
In my time at the Greasy Grill*, there were days where all I wanted to do was violently smash my head against the shake machine. And no, it wasn’t because someone just asked me what came on a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. Okay, that’s a lie. Sometimes it was.
Customers can be bad; they can be downright nightmarish. But eventually, they leave, and you’re free. However, the sour attitudes of coworkers stay with you an entire eight-hour shift.
Maybe I grew up old school, but I never showed up to work expecting it to be easy. Hard work is hard. I never imagined that could be such a difficult concept.
Let me quickly identify the difference between having a bad day and having a bad work ethic. There were plenty of days when I couldn’t do anything right. Days where I dropped food, cashed out cars wrong, exploded the espresso milk on the floor I just mopped, or was sent to the freezer so the customers didn’t have to see me cry.
Everybody has days where their head is somewhere else.
People recover from bad days. However, they don’t seem to recover from a sense of entitlement.
If you didn’t know, most fast food chains are timed on their orders. Our goal is to get the customer their food as soon as possible. Corporate knows we’re doing our job right if our times are good. When a rush hits, the shift manager lets everyone know how many seconds we’re shooting for.
Without fail, there is always a group of co-workers who ask what they’ll get if they hit target.
Well, I’m pretty sure you get a paycheck.
“They can’t tell me what to do,” “They’re not my mom,” and “I don’t get paid enough for this,” are only a few of the comments I’ve heard on my shift.
Based on the attitudes I’ve seen, I bet they don’t listen to Mom either. And you work for fast food, you make minimum wage. Get over it.
No one really wants to be here. That’s why we stay in school, kids. Entitlement is a dangerous road to venture down. We all need to realize that we are entitled to nothing, except for our basic human rights, and sometimes we don’t even get those.
When we start feeling like we deserve things that we don’t, we become people we don’t want to be. Theft starts seeming reasonable because it’s only one sandwich, one specialty drink, or one free ice cream you gave to a friend. We become bitter and full of complaints; we become joyless.
I think a lot of the time we forget that it’s our little decisions that show our priorities. And our priorities show our character.
Christ is after our hearts. And when our hearts are in the wrong place, so are we.
We’re called to live out a life that exemplifies Christ. I think that definitely counts behind the counter.
All year long, in this opinion column, I’ll be covering lessons learned in the drive-thru. I’m guessing more than a few of you have had jobs like mine, jobs that make you laugh, bring you to tears, and provide “I can’t believe they just did that” moments.
This column is not an attempt to bash my customers, co-workers, or my restaurant. Even though there have been times where I absolutely hated my job, I wouldn’t be at Corban without it. And I certainly wouldn’t be who I am today. I have a great sense of pride in what I did there, and met some truly incredible people. I believe that what we do is a direct reflection of who we are, and who we are reflects the God we worship.
Without a doubt, the Greasy Grill* was the place that has taught me the most about life, God, and what I’m made of.
*Name has been changed
Kelsey Leavitt is the Web Content Editor for Hilltop Online
She welcomes any questions or comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org