Ever have one of those intense days at work when one minute everything seems to be going well and then all of a sudden you are in the middle of chaos and there is nothing you can do to stop it? It’s like one thing happens and you shrug it off and push forward and then something else goes wrong and you try to fix it but while you are fixing that situation a worse one pops up and soon you have a snowball of messes that cannot be untangled. Well, that very thing happened to me just the other day. I will keep the details vague because I don’t need to name names or be specific about the issues.
So I work in fast food. Five days a week. 45 hours. And for the most part I love my job. But in the 29 years that I have worked in this industry I have noticed that the crew work ethic has changed and so have the customers. It is getting more difficult to work in this environment and I really don’t understand why except to say that we live in a different world now. With restaurants offering more and more options it makes the crews job more difficult and can at times be confusing and frustrating. What keeps me here you may ask, well it’s my love for people in general and that’s why this particular day was so sad.
It was a normal busy Saturday. Crew were preparing for the day. Customers were trickling in. Things were going smooth and it was business as usual, until someone was an hour late. We started to get very busy and being one person short just put us behind the game very quickly. As we began to run out of product and the lines were building, my frustration was growing. Considering that fact that my back was hurting from a previous injury, I was not really myself and at one point I lost it and began speaking firmly and loudly about product not being made properly. Of course a customer over heard the commotion and I had to personally deal with that later.
We just kept getting busier and busier. Probably could have used one or two more persons but with limited availability there was no one to call. So we just pressed in and did our best. Finally things began to turn around and we had a break in the rush to catch up, but not for long because the lines began to grow again. In the middle of all of this, a customer approached the counter asking to speak with a manager. Now mind you I was frustrated, in pain and still busy as I confronted this customer.
She began to explain a situation which had happened hours prior to her coming to speak with me. To save time, it was an incident where she felt her daughter was being teased by one of my employees for they way they reacted to a situation in the lobby. I began to apologize and she interrupted me and said I should be apologizing to the daughter, so I started again only to be interrupted once more for the mother to tell me I was scolding her daughter instead of apologizing. In that moment I realized I was not going to be right no matter how I approached this so I just became quiet.
What happened next was the lesson for the whole day. The lady began to tell me that no matter what the situation is that we all just need to be nice to one another. She further explained that everyone has different things going on in their lives and we need to be sensitive to that fact. I agreed with her and tried to smooth things over the best I could and then she said to me so matter of factually, “I just found out last week I have cancer.”
What do you say in a situation such as this? My heart filled with compassion and I wanted to just sit her down and pray with her. She was hurting and all she wanted to do was protect her daughter, It really wasn’t about what happened early, it was simply the fact that she wanted us all to be nice to each other. At the end of the day what do we remember? Did I pause to reflect on how busy we were? No I prayed for this woman who had come into my restaurant pleading for someone to be nice to her daughter. This was a large lesson in humility and compassion. A lesson I will not soon forget.
Dear Lord, Please help us to be aware of those hurting around us. Teach us to be nice no matter where we go or whatever we are doing. Help us to see the good in others and be able to respond rather than react in everyday situations. Lord forgive us for the times we are ungrateful and unfriendly towards those around us. We thank you for the Holy Spirit who guides into right thoughts. In Jesus Name Amen