I was in fast food once…ok, 5 years of fast food…
I did everything from back line to front line to management. I know how the process works. It’s not supposed to work like this…
It had been a long day and I didn’t want to cook. I had been teaching, and doing an investment for a nice couple who didn’t have a clue how money works. I spent nearly 2 weeks explaining how to budget, how much insurance they’d need, how to pay down their debt over a shorter time, and they finally got a glimpse of how their lives could be! We finished up that night after 2 hours of questions and answers and paperwork. It was late. I went to the drive through and sat at the order window. No one answered. No, “WelcometoblahblahblahourspecialisblahblahblahcanItakeyourorderplease?” in auctioneerspeak. No “Hold for a bit, I’ll be right with you.” I was confused and mad just staring at this screen. I wanted to go home.
“HEY! Anyone there?!!!”
Someone whispered urgently, “I have to take the order or someone will get suspicious.” Then into the mic, “Welcome to Wendy’s! Can I take your order please?” I ordered my favorite; she read it back and told me my total and to pay at the 1st window. I pulled up and got out my money. The lady at the window was not young. She was all business. I recognized her as a manager by her name tag and button down shirt.
Managers do not work the window at that time of night. They’re busy doing register counts. I became more suspicious. I said, “Yeah, I used to be on that side of the window, I don’t have to do that any more. How’s your night going?”
She looked nervously over her shoulder, smiled and replied, “Good as it could be! Here’s your food and your Mountain Dew. You can check your order in the pull in over there.”
?? Why would I pull into a parking spot to check my order? I mouthed, “Are you ok?” and saw her shake her head ‘no’ almost imperceptibly. I said “Thanks” as I drove over to the drive-through queue for wait orders and checked my bag. As I was moving away from the window, I heard her saying that this was policy since there were so many bad orders and complaints at this store. Ah…she was a substitute that was trying to fix a badly managed store. I used to do that. I checked my order and there was a note stuffed inside.
“We’re being robbed! Call 911!”
Oh crap. I called 911. Then I did something stupid.
I drove around to the drive through order board and said, “Hey? It’s me again. I’m sorry. I forgot that I needed to order my fries without salt. Since I’m the only one in line, can you make me up some fries?”
A boy’s voice said, “We’re Closed. Go away.”
“Bull! your sign is still on! It’s only 8:30 and your hours are until 11:00! I ain’t leaving until you give me some fries–no salt!”
“What the …?” the woman’s voice chimed in. “Get away from that mic you idiot! I’m sorry ma’am, we’ll get some right out to you!” She left the call button on and said, “You WANT some problems? You’re not very good at this robbery thing are you! Roberto drop some fries, small batch, no salt.
I pulled up to the window and whispered, “I’ll keep you distracted so he can’t do anything stupid.” Then I put my mad face on. She nodded and leaned out the window. I yelled, “What kind of stupid store is this that you have line people answering the drive through? What’s taking so long?”
“I’m sorry ma’am. He’s new. Jorge! Come here and apologize to the lady! Yes now! This is what good service looks like! and GET YOUR HAT ON!” She through a hat at him and he put it on.
Jorge was wearing a Wendy’s hat but not the shirt and had no badge…trainee or otherwise. He seemed very young. “I’m not apologizing to no drive through bitch! Get away from the window!” He threw down the hat. Thank you! Now I had a clearer view of him. He hit the manager with the back of his hand, then he leaned out the window and aimed his gun at me. “Get the hell out of here!”
“Well I NEVER! I’m going to call corporate about this you can be sure of it!!!!” I pulled into the exit to block it and got out of the car. My car is dark, so he couldn’t see what I’d done. The cops arrived without lights or siren and I told them that protocol was to let him take the money and get out of the store so there would be no hostages and no casualties. I also told them there were 3 crew members, and a manager, but no customers in the dining room. Then I indicated where the cameras were. I didn’t know if he was watching the monitor or not, but if he was, he might panic. They blocked off the other entrance into the parking lot. I then moved my car and another patrol car blocked the exit I’d vacated. I pulled into the parking lot of the box store next door and watched the “show.” They staged a couple of officers by the dumpster, one by the back door and one at the main entrance. EXACTLY WHERE I TOLD THEM NOT TO GO. If he was watching the monitors, that was where the lot cameras pointed. Oh crap.
Luckily, Jorge was new at this and it never occurred to him to check the lot monitors. He walked out with a carry-out bag. He got about 1/2 way to his car and the officer came up behind him and very gently said, “I’m with the police. I’m armed and my gun is aimed at your back. Stop, drop the bag and the gun and get on your knees.” He was so close to Jorge when he said it, that Jorge freaked out and froze. The other officers came out from their hiding places and walked slowly and quietly up to him, guns raised. The black officer said, calmly, “Boy, you the wrong color to resist. Do what he said.” Jorge nodded and went to his knees. There was no yelling, no panic. The only tension I could feel was that of the boy on the ground. This was NOT at ALL like what they did on TV. They cuffed him and escorted him to the police car, and I think I heard Jorge crying. The lead cop then went inside to assure the owner that the culprit had been caught and to take statements and such. So I left.
Of course, my burger was cold…