so today . . . i had lunch at chick-fil-a.
when i started working at my current job, the hours were somewhat negotiable. while i didn't get exactly what i wanted, they came pretty close. i chose to take just half an hour for lunch and go home half an hour earlier. most days it works for me--that is enough time for me to eat at school (or dash to 7-11 for brownies,) and i like getting home a bit earlier in the afternoon. but this year it was necessary for the school to make some adjustments which resulted in an hour long lunch for me on mondays and wednesdays. since i have a full hour, i like to go off site, and i seem to have settled on chick-fil-a as my destination of choice. there are other fast food places i could choose that are all within a couple of miles of my school, but i find myself going back to chick-fil-a most of the time.
today as i pointed my car in the direction of chick-fil-a, i started thinking about why i keep going back, monday after wednesday after monday. and as i thought about it, this is what i came up with:
THE TOP TEN REASONS WHY I LIKE TO EAT AT CHICK-FIL-A.
10. it is close. although i have an hour, i don't want to spend any more time than i have to getting there (even though i am getting there in my cool car.) the longer it takes me to go back and forth, the less time i have to eat. and read.
9. they serve chicken. chicken is good for me, right?
8. they have cross-cut fries. ok, i know they are not good for me, but crispy cross-cut fries are hard to resist. and if i get them in a . . .
7. kid's meal, then i only get a few. also, a kid's meal comes with a toy. i can either put the toy in the treasure chest at school, OR . . .
6. trade it in for ice cream. well, actually they call it ice dream, and i am not exactly sure what it is made from--probably plastics--but it is pretty good. especially if i buy a brownie to put under it. yum!
5. they have self-serve ranch dressing (or any other dipping sauce you want!) the ranch dressing is right out there where i can get my own. as much as i want! no more asking for three ranch dressings and having the employee look at me like, "seriously?!?! three??? you are only getting four chicken nuggets, and you are asking for three ranch dressings?? are you stockpiling this stuff or what . . . "
4. their drinks come in styrofoam cups. i know it is bad for the environment, but styrofoam doesn't sweat like paper or plastic cups. and when i take my refilled soda back to my classroom, i find it helpful if it doesn't make a big puddle of water on my desk . . . and i recycle my cans and use reusable shopping bags most of the time, so i figure it all evens out.
3. they have huge windows and good lighting. this is important, because one of the things that makes my monday and wednesday lunch hours so great is the uninterrupted time to read. the only place that has better lighting is del taco on a really nice day, if i eat outside. but del taco does not have nine other great things about it--it only has maybe four.
2. the employees are helpful and cheerful. usually there is one employee roaming around the room cleaning tables or asking if they can go get a soda refill for you or if you want them to bring you anything (like another ranch dressing.) yeah, they do all this stuff and don't even expect a tip!
and the #1 reason i like to eat at chick-fil-a . . .
1. when i say thank you to an employee, any employee, they always respond with the words "my pleasure!" i like that. it is so much nicer than saying "you're welcome." "you're welcome" satisfies the conventions of politeness, but it sort of implies that they have done you a favor. when they respond with "my pleasure," it makes me feel like they were glad to help me--like they aren't just responding to my thank you, but that they loved being able to help me. and even though i know it is company policy, it always makes me feel good. and i think it makes a difference in everybody's attitude.
the other day when i was there, a new guy was working behind the cash register. when i thanked him and he responded with "my pleasure," i smiled and said, "that is my favorite thing about eating here. when i hear you guys say that, it always makes me smile." and so, he smiled and said it again. a little while later, he was the room-roaming employee checking up on people's drink refills and napkin needs. when he came to my table and asked if i needed anything, i said no, but thank you. he smiled and moved on. then he backed up, looked right at me, and said, "my pleasure." it made me laugh, because sometimes it does get a little ridiculous. i could have made him say that 47 times if i had wanted to.
but i do think the words we use can make a difference--not only in how others feel and respond to us, but also in how we feel and respond to others.
as a pre-school and kindergarten teacher, i have been asked to tie a tiny tot's shoelaces probably hundreds of times. or sharpen a pencil. or zip a jacket. and i used to just kind of do it on auto pilot--i didn't really mind helping them, but i also didn't give it much thought or attention. but now, after going to chick-fil-a and seeing how the words "my pleasure" can affect how i feel, i've decided to use different words when helping my students. now, when a child asks me for help, i try to respond with the words "i'd be delighted to . . . !" and i find that many times i am. it changes the attitude of the situation from "ok, let's get this done and move on to other things," to "here, let's spend a few minutes together doing this."
it seems like a small thing, but as i have said before, words are important and they make a difference. so feel free to use the words "my pleasure" or "i'd be delighted to" as often as you can, and see how it affects your world. i know it is making a difference in mine!