For those people who have read my previous blog posts, I wanted to set the record straight. Public perception seems to be that by writing the occasional blog post on the church website, I am some famous person who makes millions of dollars as a Pulitzer Prize winning blogger. So here’s my confession: This is actually not true! In fact, I actually have to work a day job.
When I’m not wearing the super hero blogger cape, I am a special education teacher at Edgewood High School. My job can be a bit crazy at times, but every once in a while I get to experience something pretty cool.
One thing my job has blessed me with is the opportunity to coach our school’s Unified Track team. This team is comprised of individuals who are enrolled in our special education programs, along with students from the general education classroom. This is a competitive environment where the students work and train together in order to perform at their very best in the selected events. It has truly been one of the most fulfilling activities I’ve ever been a part of.
Recently, our team of 35 students headed to a meet in Columbus. They competed hard and performed well during the meet, so on the way home, we stopped for a bite to eat at a Wendy’s. I usually hate doing things like this as I know it is a burden on the establishment that we stop at, while also being a big time commitment.
As our students entered the building, they behaved admirably. I helped the individuals who had difficulties order and pay for their food. During this time, I looked at the workers and felt guilty and empathetic with how hectic we just caused their night to become. I was extremely grateful to all of them for merely putting up with all of these high school kids; especially the young lady taking the orders, as it was difficult to follow exactly what some of the athletes were wanting.
When we were halfway through our line, one of our leaders on the team shouted, “Thank you guys! You guys are awesome!” to the entire kitchen staff.
In response, the man who I came to realize was the manager shouted “No! Thank you all! We really appreciate your business and you guys being here. Thank you!”
I was shocked when I heard this. I’ve been involved with a ton of sports teams, and have stopped at countless fast food joints in an effort to get a bite to eat after a game, and we had always seemed like such a burden to the workers. But this guy was thanking us for being here?
We continued to order and get the rest of the kids through the line. I (as the last person) finally placed my order and made sure to tell the cashier and the lady putting the trays together thank you. Then, again the manager stepped forward, “No man, thank you guys. Really. I know you don’t have to stop here. We appreciate you.”
Again I was shocked. This guy was really sincere about this. Did he love his job that much?
A few minutes later, the manager walked out to where we were sitting. For a third time, he told us how much he appreciated us coming in and choosing them over the McDonald’s down the street. He then asked us for a favor.
“Guys, you know that young lady who took all your orders? Well it’s her first day of her first job today. I’m sure you guys know how hard that can be. And, well I’m not trying to be pushy, but if even half of you guys would consider filling out the survey on the back of your receipts, that would really help her out. That would really do so much for her. Even if ten of you would do it, that could do so much for her.”
I told him of course we would. We had a 45 minute drive back to our school, so the kids could use the time then. He went back to the kitchen with a smile. A couple minutes later I made an announcement for the kids to start to gather up their things. The manager appeared again.
“How about some free Frosties?” he said. The kids cheered! So he donated a free Frostie to everyone on the team. After we got those passed out and the kids out the door, I turned to him to thank him and his staff again. Their kindness was completely unexpected and beyond what they were required to give. But he would have none of it. He thanked me again for bringing them in, wished us well, and said goodbye.
Later on, this became a talking point for our team. We used this situation as an example for all of our students, that no matter what you’re doing, you can use your position to bless someone. Whether they would go on to become a lawyer, custodian, teacher, preacher, or flip burgers, they had the capacity to bless people from that position. We closed by saying that when you choose to be that blessing for someone, it is a beautiful thing, and it will make an impact on others.
So, to the Wendy’s staff off of SR 46 in Columbus, thank you for your kindness and love. It did not go unnoticed.
by Austin Tucker