When you’re a lone wolf in-line ordering donuts and coffee, life is grand. “I’ll have two vanilla cream and a triple triple please.” Ah. Order to first sip in 30 seconds. That’s livin’ man. Those were good times. I almost remember them.
As a parent, we’ve all been there. In line with kids at a fast food restaurant attempting to make sense out of chaos. Who wants what, the toys, the drinks, everyone wants to sit somewhere else. All three want to eat somewhere different. And you can always count on at least one deciding they want to eat somewhere else out of a weak attempt to be in control. We forget that much of the public can’t relate and have no idea why we can’t control the situation better. They don’t understand that 9 times out of 10 it’s fine. They just happen to be witnessing that one day when the perfect storm is brewing. And even parents who CAN relate, enjoy watching someone else suffer for a change.
The drive-thru isn’t much better. Who hasn’t been in the car with hungry kids trying to determine who wants nuggets, burgers, Sprite, fries, sweet and sour, root beer, apples, smoothies, salad, lemonade, barbecue, six-piece, four-piece, wait I want nuggets, no fish, no, nuggets, wait, burger, hold on, no I want nuggets; just waiting for the Soup Nazi to bellow through the speaker; “NO FRIES FOR YOU!!!”
And so it was one recent morning that my son and I decided to go it alone to my favorite donut shop and pick up breakfast for about 8 people. Yes, on occasion my kids have donuts for breakfast. I know, I’m an awful dad. They eat their fair share of veggies, fruits and whole grains as well. So when you only get to Tim Horton’s twice a year, you splurge a little. But moving on.
Attempting to ensure I got what everyone likes I began the mental game of going person by person in my head as my son kept pointing to and interrupting me with his own choices which changed every 30
seconds. Behind me stood an older blue collar gentleman dressed for a day of hammering, sawing, and caulking. He stood there patiently as I got through the breakfast sandwich orders, drink orders, hash browns etc. He didn’t bat an eye as I attempted to remember who liked sausage and eggs, ham and
eggs, or bacon and eggs. Even smiled as I attempted to pick out all twelve donuts, changing my mind several times as I considered each shiny little face and whether they would want pink or blue sprinkles, strawberry, maple or chocolate icing, jelly or cream and if cream would they want vanilla, bavarian or boston cream, or just a plain old fashioned, no frills donut.
He then hummed a little impromptu ditty as I got through the 2 cream, 1 sugar, no wait, 3 creams, 2 sugars, or was it 1 cream, 2 sugar coffee orders, the almost forgotten muffin, yogurt, water, and milk. I was sure when I added one more hash brown to the order after everything was done I’d get him to at least offer a gentle cough of dis-approvement. (I know it’s not a word, but as the author I get creative license) But he just stood there. Calm as a cucumber.
By the time we were finished it had easily been about 15 minutes. And at no time did the man ever bat an eye. He just stood there waiting patiently, calmly and with a genuine air of understanding as my son tugged on my shirt desperate to ensure I got him a chocolate milk not white.
As the cashier was totaling everything up, I turned to the man and asked him politely what he was getting. “Just a coffee,” he said. I looked at the cashier and told her, “Whatever he wants it’s on me.” He initially refused, but I insisted, thanking him for his patience. Because, the way I see it, we reward our kids for good behavior, why not reward the village too?