I was standing next to a tall, round man in the line at McDonald’s, waiting for my food. This was the same restaurant that I managed while attending college, so I have several friends still working there. After a moment of waiting for our orders, the man turned to me and said, “You need to keep an eye on them, don’t you?”
“Huh?” I was listening to a podcast at the time and was genuinely unsure about what the man had said.
“You gotta keep your eye on these people or they’re sure to make a mistake.”
“Why’s that?” I asked, hoping to goad him.
“Well… they don’t get paid much and you don’t need much of an education to work fast food. So how can you trust them?”
“I hear you,” I said, trying to sound as agreeable as possible. “What do you do for a living?”
“I drive a truck.”
“Need a Master’s degree for that?” I asked.
It took the guy the few seconds to realize my implication, and then he turned back and glared at me. “Go to hell,” he suggested in a less than kind tone.
“Keep in mind,” I added, “that half of the stuff you buy probably comes from China, and the people in those factories don’t have much of an education either. But how do you keep an eye on the guy whose manufacturing your toothbrush on the other side of the world?”
The gentleman offered a two-word suggestion that I will not repeat here.
And he was a large man, round in the belly but tall and muscular as well, so I waited until he was in his truck and down the road before exiting the restaurant.
I may be bold with my words and would not turn down an opportunity to fight, but I’m not exactly looking for a fight either, regardless of how often I irritate people.
It still shocks me how often a person in line will turn to me, assuming that their underhanded,cowardly, backstabbing comment about the cashier will go unchallenged.