No Problem

I grabbed Luca and jumped in our Honda Odyssey. She needed a break from her brother and sister. I needed a break from the computer.

But it was Christmas day. Well, it was Christmas night by the time we slid our way off snow covered Lea Hill and into town looking for something to eat besides corn flakes and nachos.


We weren’t picky. Pretty much anything with a drive thru would suffice because the only thing covering my feet were a pair of Land’s End slippers.

We drove by McDonalds. Closed.

Taco Bell? Closed.

Dairy Queen? Closed.

Arby’s and Taco Time? Closed and closed.

Only Jack-in-the-Box was open. As I pulled around the parking lot all I noticed was a line of cars snaked around the building. We got in line and waited our turn to order. About 20 minutes later we pulled up to the window.

Finally, a young man opened the window and said, “I’m so sorry. I just gave your order to the car in front of you. It will be a few minutes longer”

In years past I probably would have let out a loud *sigh* to express my displeasure. At the very least, I would have directed a frown his way.

But I didn’t do either.

I smiled and said, “No problem. It happens”.

He said, “Well, it’s happened a few times today, and I’m sorry it happened to you”.

I could see he was working hard to remake our order. But it didn’t really matter. I wasn’t upset. It was Christmas and here I am out driving around snowy roads in a minivan with my daughter wearing slippers.

And it gave me more time to chat with Luca who told me all about the sewing kit Santa brought her. I glanced at her cute smiley face in the rearview mirror as she explained how Santa knew exactly what she wanted. Her words sprang with joy, and she paused only to catch her breath between details.

Our food arrived hot and stuffed into two bags. I handed Luca the vanilla milkshake she received by promising not to tell her brother or sister. One lick of the whipped cream on top told me I should have ordered myself one.

As we slowly made our way up the hill to our home, I told myself that I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt this year like I did tonight at the drive-thru. I’m not going to jump to conclusions and assume I know all the details. I’m going to listen more and talk less.

Even in those situations where a response or reaction is warranted, I’m going to do the unexpected and say, “No problem”.

We turned off the main road and slid around our neighborhood before making our way down to the end of our cul-de-sac. As we pulled into the driveway of our little yellow house, Luca said, “Dad, I’m glad that guy didn’t give my milkshake away”.

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8 thoughts on “No Problem

  1. Awww I think we can all do more of the holding back on assumptions in every day life! I know when I remember to do it I am always humbled afterwards by the other persons facial expressions of appreciation!

    Happy new year to you and your family


  2. @Debs – Thanks, Debs. I agree about the facial expressions. It’s fun to see their reaction when they expect to be yelled at or worse and then you do just the opposite and show compassion.


  3. What’s really cool is when you perform what you think is a small level of service for somebody.
    Pick up something they dropped.
    Let them go ahead in line.
    Make their kids laugh.
    And you get the look of shock and disbelief.
    Thanks to you, I plan to shake more people up with kindness and compassion.


  4. That is really cool, Brett. This is not the old Brett of yesteryear talking, this is the new, improved, fatherhood model. Having children really softens up the old heart and gives us reason to pause and be thankful, doesn’t it?

    I’m glad your Christmas has been so enjoyable! I wish I could have been there to see the excited kids but you and Kimi have taken me there with your blogs and emails!


  5. Nice posting, Brett. I’m more patient with mistakes than I was years ago. I learned when I was over Operations that I’d give myself a heart attack if I got angry over each mistake.

    I’m glad the guy didn’t give away Luca’s milkshake, too.


  6. Great post!!! but does this mean you won’t be calling the Jack-in-the-Box customer service hotline to inquire about the average drive thru window wait time on Christmas day?


  7. ah gee, you made my eyes leaks. =) in a good way.
    what a nice little vignette you painted for us out here in the excited land of electrons.
    thank you.


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