One item down…

Friday night, I had some errands to run after work so J agreed to eat fast food for dinner.  I was sitting at the McDonald’s drive-through and I saw the opportunity to fullfil something on my 101 list…I decided that I was going to pay for the person behind me.

I had no idea that my simple request would throw the whole restaurant into a tailspin.

I placed my order and drove up to the first window as instructed.  I handed over my credit card to pay for my order (I know it’s crazy to use a credit card for a $12 order, but I had no cash) and while the kid was swiping my card, I told him that I would like to pay for the person behind me. 

First he looked at me like I had three heads.  Then he called the manager to come over.  They were speaking in Spanish but I got the idea that running my credit card twice in a row was going to cause some sort of problem. 

The manager came to the window and asked me what the problem was.  I explained that I wanted to pay for the car behind me.  She asked if we were together and I said no.  She asked me why I wanted to pay for them and then I started to get annoyed.  I realize that this isn’t an everday request, but was it really so complicated?

Apparently so.

Finally, I was able to work the process out with them, but I had to give them a different credit card.  So, with my order and the other person’s order paid for, I drove up to the second window to collect my food. 

Guess what…more confusion.  I pulled and the window was open so I listened to the conversation between the employees.  The woman who was packing the food was apparently talking to the kid at the first window.  She just kept repeating “Who paid for what? This woman paid for who?”  It was almost like a joke. 

Finally, the woman came to the window and said “Can you please explain the situation to me?”  Really?  So I told her, I was paying for my own order, but I also wanted to pay for the order of the people behind me.  “Just because?”  Yup, just because.

And finally, I got my food and I drove away. 

Who knew doing a nice thing would be so complicated? 

Our McDonald’s was really yummy.  I hope the people behind me enjoyed their food as much as we did.


  1. This is another reason why I love being Canadian! This is a somewhat common occurance at Tim Horton’s drive-thrus; nobody even thinks twice, there is never a problem and it often starts a chain reaction where the person behind you will then pay for the person behind them and so on…
    Way to go, Shana!

    • My aunt used to work at a Starbucks in Florida and it used to happen there too. Either I got stuck with the stupidest McD’s employees on the planet or people in my ghetto town are just not generous.

  2. Wow… is it really that hard? When I worked at Caribou we had that happen every now and again and it was never any issue.

    But either way, good for you!

  3. Wow – good for you! I would have loved to hear the conversation in the car behind you when they got the good news!

    With my luck it would have been a big order for a family for 6 that I ended up paying for!

    I hope the appreciated your random act of kindness.

  4. Awwww, you did a good deed, Shana! I can’t believe all the confusion though–I hope the car appreciated the free meal :)

  5. You did it!!! I have always wanted to do something like that for someone and you’ve just inspired me. Too bad the employees had to make a big old mess out of it.

    Oh and yeah…I charge EVERYTHING. Like even if it’s $1. I never have cash on me.

    • I never have cash on me either…ever. I just took a cab to the dentist at lunch time and I actually had cash. It was the first time I paid cash for cab fare since they started accepting credit cards.

  6. Nicely done! You’re burning through that list! 1 down 100 to go. I was at McDonalds the a couple weeks ago, for some post-wedding dancing hunger, the line up was super long and slow it being 1:30am and all, and the car ahead of me after ordering got frustrated (presumably) and left the drive through before he reached window 1. Talk about a tail-spin! Apparently the McDs staff had never had such an experience. When I got up to the window and said, “the guy ahead of me left,” and repeated my order so I was paying for mine not his, they said “what do you mean he left?” It required about 3 people (close to the entire staff on hand I would think at 1:30) to figure out that they needed to cancel his order, put mine through and tell the girl at window 2. Shinanigans.

  7. Very nice. I think it’s interesting that the people at McDonald’s had such a hard time comprehending the situation.

  8. Way to go! I’m glad you persisted, even though the McDonald’s staff made your good deed a little more work. Perhaps their trouble with processing what was happening is a statement on how little something like that actually happens? Hopefully you started a chain reaction that gave them a little more practice!


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