Early this summer we found ourselves in the drive-thru of Chick-fil-A.
It’s the one place I know we can get a quick salad and a fresh lemonade while traveling.
Our plan was to pop in and out.
After all, we had long since passed the lunch crowd and were nowhere near the dinner rush.
Truth be told, two of the three of us were weary from the extra-long drive and our driver was barely hanging onto her good nature.
My hair was matted from a ponytail that wouldn’t hold.
And despite having put on makeup that morning I looked like I had just woken up.
All I can say about our sweet Piper was that her bristly white fur was much like her attitude had been since we got in the car that morning, completely on guard.
As we pulled into the parking lot it looked like it would be the quick trip we had hoped for.
Then we circled the building and saw a line of cars at least 10 deep in the drive-thru.
“Ugh, we’re going to be here for a while,” were the only words I could make out between loud barks and high-pitched whines.
Thankfully, we made our way through the maze fairly quickly, and as we grabbed the last to-go bag the young cashier asked if she was allowed to give Piper a treat.
“I’ve never seen a little dog with hair that sticks up like that. He looks like a baby Einstein!” she said.
Stiffing a laugh, we thanked her for her kindness and with a genuine smile she said Chick-fil-A’s signature salutation, “My pleasure.”
We were several miles down the road when I thought about how simple that exchange had been.
We were exhausted from the drive and from having to calm Piper down every time she saw a semi-truck, a school bus, a motorcycle…it was a lot.
Truthfully, all I wanted to do was sip my lemonade in peace and go five minutes without chaos.
“I’m going to start saying ‘my pleasure’ every time someone thanks me,” I blurted out breaking the silence. “It shouldn’t be reserved just for the Chick-fil-A line.”
“It’s definitely a good one – and so simple – count me in too,” S said matter of factly.
I’m proud to report we’ve kept it up for over a month now and I can honestly say that seemingly small change has made a big difference.
Sometimes it makes me giggle and I immediately think of the trip.
Other times, I’m genuinely grateful to have the opportunity to serve someone else like we were served that day.
I recently read an Instagram post from wife, mother, family doctor, and author Mikala Albertson of @ordinaryonpurpose and it instantly resonated with how we felt that day in the line of Chick-fil-A…
As each day passes, I’ve come to deeply understand that you never know what someone’s day has been like or what they are going through.
It might not be an anxiety-ridden road trip that has your nerves frazzled.
It might be a recent diagnosis, a job loss, an incarcerated loved one, a family member who needs extra TLC, a political injustice without resolution, a divorce, a toddler who doesn’t sleep through the night, a teen with low self-esteem that feels left behind, a mom who is the sole provider, or an unreasonable boss.
You might find yourself at a crossroads feeling completely stuck as you navigate the fallout of the global pandemic still.
Honestly, I could add a thousand more scenarios to this list.
But I trust your heart is already keenly aware of your current situation.
Late last week, we were running behind thanks to a long list of errands and found ourselves in the line at Chick-fil-A again.
As the cashier handed me large lemonades and a bag of salads, I smiled at the way she said, “My pleasure,” but I also noticed something different about our cups.
Yet another simple reminder we all have the power to put our very best out into the world, not only for ourselves but for each other.
Cheering you on as you navigate each day.
May you be reminded in both big and small ways how important your presence is needed in the world right now.