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Friday, September 27, 2013

Something Strange Happened at McDonalds

Maybe it's been that kind of month when I'm a witness to asshole behavior. This morning was no different:

Today is my day off. I got a late breakfast at McDonalds. I'm sitting in a booth, and there's a couple in front of me at a table.

I'm not paying attention to them until I hear him spill his drink. I still don't look up... until I hear the unmistakable sound of liquid pouring off a table onto the ground. For 20 seconds. Neither of them is moving.

The guy says: "Don't clean it up. That's what these people get paid to do."

Instead, they move two tables down and leave the entire mess, wrappers and unfinished food and bags and the still-dripping spill. A total mess.

I quickly got pissed. "These people" make minimum wage and even McDonalds has acknowledged workers would have to do two jobs to get by on what they're paid.

Normally, I would have verbally called it out on the spot, and although that has its place, I went a different route.

I calmly got up, walked over to the counter, and asked if I could speak to the manager.

Manager comes up. I request a mop.

"I'm sorry, Sir, I don't understand."

I explain the situation, promise not to say anything to the customers (unless addressed by them), and amused, she follows to watch.

I roll the mop bucket through the restaurant. Customers are turning their heads and raising eyebrows.

I roll it up to the table of the spill. The couple is sitting there and go dead silent when they see me with the mop bucket.

The manager is standing there with a huge smile.

I take out the mop and go to work.

After five seconds, the woman speaks up:

"We're really sorry."

"That's okay. You should just treat people how you want to be treated."

The man, boisterous before, is still silent. He picks up his bag and walks toward the door to exit.

The woman appears shell shocked. They had been laughing a few moments before and now both looked grave.

The manager thanked me and wished me a happy day.


  1. We need more people like you Charles!!!

  2. Very nice. Good way to handle the situation! Well done.

  3. you're a better man than I am, Charles.

  4. Wow - what easy prey you go after. What a big man you are making others feel and look small. I bet you couldn't wait to write about this and the lesson you taught every one. You are guilty of the same asshole behavior because you extoll your behavior over others in the same manner this guy does. Guys like you give real good guys a bad name. You aren't a good guy just one acting like he is.

    1. I am amazed that you took offence at Charles' proactive and non-confrontational approach to this incident. The people that spilled their drink took no responsibility for their actions. Charles was irritated, as I would have been, but did not confront or demean the drink-spillers. He simply addressed the problem.

      The people left because they felt ashamed by their own inaction and lack of consideration, not because Charles told them they were dolts.

      As one would do with any other unusual experience, Charles told a friend and this friend said Charles should post a write up in his blog. Nothing in this speaks of a predatory behaviour on Charles' part. He is angry and instead of berating the people for being jerks, he redirects the energy and uses it to clean up the mess.

      I also believe the drink-spillers will think twice about repeating this behaviour.

      I think Charles' actions were laudable and demonstrative of a level of maturity that many people seem to lack.

    2. Agreed. Shaming others is appropriate when they have behaved shamefully and they deserve to feel shamed about their poor behavior and actions! :)

  5. EXACTLY! Some people just lack empathy for those people who have to work around the clock just to barely get by.
    You are a great person, just keep doing what you do.


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