Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Choose Your Path

I went through the McDonald's drive-thru on the way to the office this morning. I grabbed a sausage McGriddle and decided to try the new Caramel Iced Coffee. McGriddle, good. Iced coffee, not so much.

Anyway, this particular McDonald's has a drive-thru that, if you really want to, you can pull in off the main road and maneuver your vehicle over to the left and avoid having to drive ALL THE WAY AROUND the restaurant. I mean, who has an extra 10 seconds to do that?

But, I am really trying to be more patient these days, and I wanted to "follow the rules" by going through the process as it was intended.

So, what happens? You guessed it. I am approaching the speaker to place my order at the big board, and someone has the gall to cut me off and "break" in line without going around the building like I did. I thought, "So THAT'S the thanks I get for being a good guy!"

My initial reaction would normally be to wave my arms or pound my steering wheel. I mean, not only did the guy cut me off, but he was in a huge SUV with two canoes strapped to the top, and was pulling a trailer full of baby "must-haves" for vacation - massive stroller, baby beach bubble, pack-n-play, etc. It would have been much easier for him to go around the building...but nooooo...he had to get that McMuffin pronto!

I calculated that I would have gotten through the line about three minutes sooner if that family had not pulled in front of me. Three minutes may not seem like a lot, but it's an eternity when you're Jonesing for a bite of that warm, syrup-oozing McGriddle.

In those three minutes, I think I may have grown as a person. I realized that it must have been more important for him to order before I did. Perhaps his baby was screaming in the back, or maybe his wife was urging him to hurry, or maybe he needed his McGriddle as badly as I did. The point is, I was actually able to chuckle and let it go. I didn't allow it to ruin my day, and it didn't fester.

I had a choice. I could have created a scene - made gestures or barked at him. But, I chose grace instead - and it was difficult, lemme tell you. But it was the right choice.

You never know the potential ripple effect you have in a situation like that. So, I opted to stop the ripples right there. Maybe I even started some positive ripple action. Who knows.

But, next time I won't drive all the way around the building.