Towards the end of my high school “career”, I got a job at my local KFC. Contrary to what you might think, the job wasn’t that bad, really. Sure, it was greasy. Sure, I smelt like chicken when I got off work. But all in all, it wasn’t that bad. The people were nice, and I actually enjoyed the pressure of being in a kitchen, even if that kitchen was hardly Gordon Ramsay’s.
About the only thing I didn’t like about the job were weekend mornings, especially in the summer. If the weather was nice, we’d be bombarded with people wanting buckets of chicken to take with them to the lake, or to family reunions, or to work or church picnics… you name it. All I know is that we’d start making chicken at around 9am and we wouldn’t get a break from the rush until around 2pm or so. Once we opened at 11am, I’d usually take over the drive-thru, or rarely, the front counter. Just as I enjoyed the pressure of the job, I especially liked working the drive-thru, since that was often the busiest place in the restaurant. Knowing that I liked it, the management crew always put me on the drive-thru if the schedule permitted.
Now, the actual drive-thru window at “my” KFC was what I called an “air conditioner drive-thru”: instead of a simple window that rolled back and forth like most places, my KFC drive-thru “window” was a small glass and steel box mounted to the side of the building. If you looked at it from the side, it looked something like a window-mounted air conditioner… hence my name for it. Remember this detail, as it’ll be important later.
So anyway… it was one of those crazy Sunday mornings. We’d had tons of customers buying buckets o’ bird. And we were short-staffed, which meant that I hadn’t had a break yet. I was really needing a couple of minutes away from the drive-thru window, but it just wasn’t possible. Even though I was nearing the “breaking point”, I had to soldier on.
And then this poor Korean guy pulled up to the window. I don’t remember exactly what he ordered, but I remember that it wasn’t a bucket or anything. Maybe it was a three-piece dinner or something. Whatever. I gathered everything for his order as he pulled up to the window. I opened the drive-thru window, told him his total, took his money, and gave him his change back. He asked for something – honey, I think – and I turned around, got a couple of packets of honey, and put them in the bag. I opened the window again and handed him his food… and then he said it:
Maybe it was his accent, and I just misunderstood. Maybe I wanted to hear those words. I don’t know. The Korean guy was acting completely normal… but I wasn’t. I stuck my hand in the drive-thru window’s “box” and banged my hip against the plunger that opened the drive-thru window. I extended my middle finger and shouted out at the top of my lungs:
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