the beauty of people

Photo credit: Flickr user James Crindland via Creative Commons

Photo credit: Flickr user James Crindland via Creative Commons

I know people can drive you nuts. I know they sometimes seem to be a bother, and there are so many of them that really chap your hide. More often than not you hear complaints and gripes and all that hits the airwaves is the bad, with one little blurb to try to restore your faith in humanity at the very, very end.

This is that blurb.

Backstory: The week before Christmas or so, I went to visit a Culver’s restaurant. My kids enjoy eating there. I like the food, too, but we don’t eat out much. The kids were spending time with the grandparents and I was alone. So, I thought I’d swing by and pick up a burger while I was out, go home and eat in front of the boob tube (any of you ever heard that one? no? dang! my age is showing). I only get a single, every time, no drink, no fries. This is splurging for me, mind you.

Back at home, I settle in nicely, I have my water, I have my blanket (it’s cold this time of year), and I sit down, turn on the set, select my poison, and start eating. I’m watching, I’m eating, I’m enjoying the show, then another bite, and I realize this isn’t what I ordered. The restaurant is fifteen, twenty minutes away. It’s cold out. I’m watching my show, and gas hadn’t dropped to the ‘what the hey happened?’ rate it is now, and I’m thinking it’s costly to go in and replace the blinkin’ burger, so I just eat it. And watch my show.

Afterwards, though, I decided to call the store and let them know what happened. I thought maybe they’d apologize and send me a coupon for a sandwich or something. Remember, I like their food. And I don’t eat out much. It’s sorta disappointing when you’re thinkin’ bacon and you get tofu instead, right? Although, I’m sure they don’t serve tofu, you get the drift.

I called. I asked for the manager. First, I told him how much much my kids and I enjoy eating there (remember we’ve established this already). He thanks me. He told me people rarely call to say good things. He told me he appreciated that very much (not feeling the love yet? ah, just wait). I told him I was glad he appreciated it, but there was a tiny problem. I let him know that I had been through the drive through and didn’t check my order before I left, so I didn’t know that my sandwich had been made wrong. He told me it wasn’t my job to double check their work (taking responsibility is one of my pet peeves–he shoots, he scores!). He asked what I had ordered, and I told him.

You know what he did? He said he’d write my name down in the special place he had if anything ever went wrong, and whenever I wanted I could come in and get a free basket to replace the burger that was wrong. Nice. I thanked him. I thought it was pretty cool.

The thing is, typically I don’t say a word. I eat, I go on with life, no biggie, so I thought this was a sweet deal.

Present Day: The kids and I were grocery shopping (oh, joy!), and my daughter had given her brother all her scoopie coupons she’d been collecting (to exchange for a toy) as a gift for Christmas because it’s all she had to give. Since then, she’s been chomping at the bit to go exchange the coupons for a toy. Now seemed like a good time to collect on the basket, get the toys, and feed hungry kiddos in between stores (I can only go one place with these hooligans in between feedings).

We entered Culver’s and who should be at the counter, but the manager I had spoken with about the basket. His nametag was a dead give away (I asked to be sure). I mentioned my name and said he’d told me I could come in and get a free basket. He remembered (must be a short mistake list–Culver’s gets bonus points for that one).

I ordered a kid’s meal for my son. He said I could get a full size basket if I wanted (I kinda figured that, but I always get the kids baskets because they get their free scoop of custard and the coveted scoopie tokens). I ordered a kid’s meal for my daughter. I then ordered my typical sandwich for the basket. Manager said I could get any side I wanted.

They have the best onion rings. And they cost extra.

I know, I know. Small fries. But, hey. When your budget is small, it’s the little things that make a difference.

So, I told him, I loved their onion rings and would like those. They have good fries, too, I would have been happy with those.

Nice.

And, I asked if we could redeem our scoopie coupons. I didn’t know, but if you collect ten coupons, you could either get a free kids meal, or a toy. I like learning something new every day.

Since my little princess had her heart set on an actual “toy” for her brother, we had to get one of those. They were under the counter, and out they came. My little rug rat quickly grabbed the biggest boy toy at the top of the box and off he ran like a shot!

Poor princess. There was an adorable little stuffed dog in the box, too. His name is Fudge. Manager told us so. She looked so deflated.

Manager will be upset if he reads this, because he asked us not to tell.

But I’m telling.

And I’ll deny it all as a fabricated tale if asked.

For “likes”.

(But it’s true)

He whispered to my daughter she could have Fudge.

Those toys are cheap–I know (I didn’t say that). He acknowledged it. He knows.

Does my daughter know? No. All she knows is that she gave away her scoopie coupons to a little brother who likes the biggest baddest boy toys he can get his hands on. And she will get no enjoyment out of a big, bad boy toy her brother probably can’t even manage, and won’t be playing it with her.

And she also knows she is now the proud owner of Fudge. Who has bendable ears. And her brother got his Christmas gift too.

Princess likes dogs. Her doggies all gathered together a few days ago to watch “Bolt”. And you would be hard pressed to find a larger gathering of stuffing outside a toy store or fabric store than what was in the home theater that day (on the floor in front of my old, tiny laptop, although the stuffing thing might be a very slight exaggeration, for dramatic effect).

Today, we sat and enjoyed our lunch. The kids ate their meals, followed by their custard. Everyone had onion rings. It was a grand day out.

As we’re gathering together to head out, the Manager walks towards me and says, “I want to ensure you will visit us again.” and hands me two free custard coupons.

Humanity, bro.

Faith restored.

People are beautiful. And I will be returning to Culver’s. I didn’t need the coupons for that. It’s all icing on the cake, man.

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