Stranded at the drive-thru, branded a fool

Photo by Charity Banks.

By Kristen Banks

This week has been a really busy week. It’s been tough to get everything done that needed to get done. And I’ve had much less time to do what I really wanted to do, which was quilt. I know you’ve all been there before.

You’ve all had those times when life and responsibilities have kept you from doing the things that you really wanted to do. And it’s easy to start feeling stressed out and downright cranky after a while, or at least that’s what usually happens to me. I was kind of feeling grouchy, and sorry for myself, when I remembered something that happened to me not too long ago.

Just the other day, I was waiting in line for breakfast at a local fast food drive-thru. I needed to grab a quick bite to eat on my way to work. I was in a hurry and slightly annoyed at how slow the line was moving. I was fiddling with the radio, and glancing at my phone, as I waited at a dead stop impatiently behind a big hopped up Ford pickup truck. It was a tough looking truck with a lift kit, big tires, and it was a little too loud for my taste. The back window and tailgate were covered in various brightly covered stickers. It was really obnoxious.

I judged that it must belong to some young person who obviously needed a lesson in drive-thru etiquette, because the cars ahead of us had already moved up a length and this monstrosity had stayed planted on the asphalt directly in front of me for what seemed like an eternity. I didn’t want to honk, and be ‘that gal,’ but I was thinking, “Scoot up already!!!” And I may or may not have waved my hands and shook my head around a little, who knows?

I know some of you have been in situations like this, and whether you would admit it or not, you know exactly what I’m talking about. As I was mindlessly rapping my fingers against the steering wheel and possibly gritting my teeth, just counting the wasted minutes of my life, the driver’s door to that big ole’ truck swung open. To my disbelief a young man leapt out of the truck, and just left that behemoth there rumbling and blocking my way. I was thinking “Are YOU kidding me?” What was I going to do now? Would I be stranded in this drive-thru forever?! Would they be out of my biscuit sandwich by the time I got to the window? No, just no….this was the worst!

Then I finally took my eyes off of myself and realized what was really happening. I finally noticed what this careless young man, in my opinion, had been noticing all along. While I was focused on myself, and how inconvenienced I was, that young man left his pride and joy setting there vulnerable in front of me, to go hold open a door for an older man on a walker. What I failed to notice in these few short moments, while I was throwing a self-loving pity party, was the man on the walker right beside me on the sidewalk working his way by inches toward the restaurant door.

The whole time I was sitting there moaning about my own breakfast being delayed by a couple of extra minutes, and how it was taking me so long to move up just a few feet in line as I sat in my nice climate controlled vehicle which required very little physical effort from me to navigate, this man had had to work over twice as hard just to move a few inches. I was humbled. I felt foolish, petty, and small. So, I sat there in quiet shame for a moment. Then, I shut my pie hole, waited patiently, ordered my food, took what was given me without making a big production of ‘checking the bag’, and went to work.

But, I went to work feeling a little bit better about the world. I was thankful that I got the chance to witness that young man’s act of selfless kindness. He not only helped that older gentleman, he helped me as well. He helped me realize that, whether we notice it or not, there are still people out there who are thoughtful, willing to lend a hand, and who put others above themselves.

I think sometimes we get so absorbed in thinking about how bad things are, how things aren’t how we want them to be, and all the problems that we see in front of us, that we don’t notice the good things that are happening all around us at the same time. We are so distracted by the little inconveniences that make life more difficult that we fail to realize how good we really have it, and that we should be thankful for what we do have, because there are others walking right beside us that have a far harder road to travel.

I hope next time I can be more like the idiot that’s holding up the traffic, than the fool that’s following him.


  1. Lilly Newkirk says:

    This story probably fits most of us. I know it does me. You are a wonderful study teller and I am so glad you can share your experience with us. I am very thankful that I met you. God bless you both.