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    Putting The Bus Into Busy

    | Toronto, ON, Canada | Food & Drink, Top

    (My mother and I go to lunch at a popular fast food restaurant. The store’s location is in a plaza directly across the street from the local mall; as such, despite the fact that it is the lunch hour, there are few customers in the dining room other than us, though the drive-thru is a flurry of activity. We wait at the counter, and the woman there takes our order.)

    Cashier: “Will there be anything else today, sweetie?”

    (I am a pretty scrawny and short eleven year old, and painfully shy.)

    Me: “No thank you, that’s okay. But um… there’s a bus full of kids coming here for lunch. They should be here soon.”

    Cashier: “Wait, what?”

    My Mother: “Well, my daughter was late to school today because of a doctor’s appointment. I normally drop her off with a note for the teacher, but her grade is on a field trip touring the local police station up the street from the restaurant. I drove her to the station and stayed with her as we caught up with the tour, and then decided to drive the two of us to the restaurant after. We’re here first because it takes time to load up two classes of kids into a school bus.”

    Cashier: *pale* “Could you just wait one moment, please?”

    (She goes and gets her manager, and my mom and I explain everything again.)

    Manager: “How many people are we talking about here?”

    Mom: *to me* “How many kids in your class, honey?”

    Me: “It’s not just my class. It’s [other teacher]‘s class too, and there’s 25 kids in hers. [My teacher] has 27 kids, but there’s [classmate] and [teacher's aide] ’cause she’s special ed. And [third teacher] has some of his kids too, so…” *does the mental math* “Maybe 60 people?”

    Manager: “60. Some adults, mostly kids.”

    (She breathes deeply in and lets it out slowly with a whoosh.)

    Manager: “Got it.”

    (She turns to her crew, barks out orders, and the previously laid-back kitchen area explodes into action. Meat’s on the grill, batches of fries and nuggets are dropped into the fryer and just in time because five minutes later my classmates and teachers are swarming the place. The manager was nice enough to track me down in all the fuss and give me a free sundae. It wouldn’t be until years later, when I was working in fast food myself that I appreciated the reprieve even a few minutes’ advance warning could bring!)