Monday, May 29, 2017

M at McDonald's: "the faces of happy people will forever be engraved into my memory"

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

All acts of kindness are appreciated whether you see it or not. In my main project. I did something that I’ve actually done before this assignment. I work at McDonald’s and tend to be in the 1st window, collecting money, and verifying the orders of drive-thru customers. With an opportunity like this, I always felt like I was able to completely turn someone’s day around. Just my politeness alone tended to have people very delighted. There have been multiple times where I’d be generally and genuinely polite, the way I already am, to a customer and they’re reaction is priceless.

 Along with the fact that I’m a stranger, I being a McDonald’s employee doesn’t make people think I’d be very respectful, so maybe that’s why they get so surprised. They sometimes get so surprised, that I get surprised. I just show my honest feelings and respect to others and I feel like we are all supposed to be doing that anyway. I’ve been working there since December of 2014 and since then, I’ve been constantly making friends and acquaintances with customers that come through the drive-thru and those who come inside as well.

 Honestly, it’s getting really fun as well, because there’s a lady who I know by the time I hear her voice. She always comes through and gets a grilled chicken salad, with an unsweet tea. She is so friendly and polite to me as well, and we once even conversed for minutes through the drive-thru window until we realized her food had been sitting there. We’d just see how each other were doing, and she was even telling me about her vacation plans and the places she’d went whenever I don’t see her for a while. That’s just one example though, and this isn’t even the actual approach I took towards the project.
I am a musician; but more relatively speaking, I am a songwriter and poet, so sometimes when I’m at work and business is slow I use the receipt printer paper to write on. The more I did this, the more I thought about the ways I could use this for others. It occurred to me that I could simply write on the back of receipt paper before I give it out to the customers; so that’s what I did. I began to jot down small compliments and motivational words on receipt paper. I was really filled with positive energy so I decided to share the love with my fellow coworkers as well. I started doing the same but I’d print out blank sheets of receipt paper each time I was there, and I’d place the receipts face down in this small, plastic basket-looking object that we had where people may temporarily store things for the day like their phone, or jewelry, and whatnot. I then taped a piece of paper next to it and it read “Take One”. When I first started this, it was really fun, and I felt so great about it. Customers were overwhelmingly joyous and it made my day to see their made day. However, on the inside, I walked in one day and noticed that a bunch of the receipts in the garbage can. I wasn’t necessarily sad about and certainly wasn’t discouraged. I figured that maybe a worker or manager had thought it was old receipts collected throughout the day. I continuously kept doing this but it was all anonymous (as far as the inside portion that was given to my coworkers). I still don’t think anyone knew it was me either.
I really did this because for years, I’ve personally been affected by mental illnesses that don’t really get addressed much. Though I’ve noticed a lot of people talk about depression and anxiety, it has still yet to be treated as serious as it is and still needs more attention. It’s very terrible, and as far as the depression, well that’s the main reason I went for this project. I know what it’s like to have something so simple and plain , as some people may see it, but to you (generally speaking) it means the world. There’s been times before where someone would say something completely normal, and I’d just sit there afterwards hoping that even if they don’t know how much it might have meant to me, that the good karma they deserve comes back around and they receive some sort of happiness that might make their day a whole lot better; and it’s like a big, beautiful cycle. So many people would find this corny or lame, but it’s something that can truly be the start of a change in society and its views along with the mannerisms we use and how we treat others. Unfortunately, I’m unable to take pictures at my job. They won’t allow it. But the faces of happy people will forever be engraved into my memory, and I couldn’t see myself forgetting.

Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” – Henry Nouwen