(Meme from http://www.memegen.com)
We were having a hectic afternoon at home. I had to pick up D from daycare, take E to the school dance, get E’s favorite outfit laundered, and get dinner somewhere in there. My husband, Rick, is sick so I knew his help would be limited. Oh well, this is exactly the type of evening fast food drive thrus were made for.
I have heard of many occasions were people have paid for the order of the car behind them in the drive thru line. I have known from the beginning I would be doing that at one point. Today was the day. Time to pay it forward.
As I was waiting to order, a began noticing the car behind me. It was a small sedan of some kind….four door. There was a lady driving it who looked to be my age (29, that is….hahaha) or maybe a bit older. She was the only one in the car, and I got the impression she was probably on her way from work. I finished my order then drove ahead.
When I got to the window I explained to the employee that I also wanted to pay for the meal of the lady behind me. She said I would have to wait because the lady was not finished giving her order. What? How could she still be ordering for only one person?
At that moment, honestly, I thought, “Crap! She’s probably buying for her kid’s entire baseball team tonight. What did I just do?” I thought about throwing out a casual, “Oh, nevermind,” and moving on. But I didn’t.
Then the employee looked at me, gave me the total, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Turns out, she apparently wasn’t buying for a baseball team. I paid and moved forward to the next window.
At that point I watched the mystery woman in the car behind me approach the window with money in her hand ready to pay. Then she looked forward at my car, looked back at the employee, and took her money back. It was a bit of an odd moment. Should I wave; stare at her; yell “you’re welcome” at my window; or avoid looking at her? What is the cultural norm — the unwritten rule for such a thing? I think too much.
As I was pulling away, I did throw up my hand and saw her wave back in my rearview mirror. She had a smile, but a confused look on her face. Perhaps she was wondering what the unwritten rule for such a thing was, too.