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Bringing About Positive Change

, , , , , | Right | June 8, 2020

I work at a fairly busy fast food restaurant, and I have been trying to quickly process orders all day. A customer comes up and starts to order.

Customer: “I would like a [Combo #1], please, large size.”

Me: “Okay, sir, that was a large [Combo #1], so your total will be $7.67.”

The customer pulls out a handful of change, plunks it on the counter, and looks at me expectantly. Just looking at it, I know it’s not enough for his meal.

Me: *Unsure* “Would you like me to count that, sir?”

Customer: “Yes, please!”

I count out the amount of change, and the total amount is $0.83.

Me: “Sir, you are $6.84 short.”

The customer nods emphatically.

Me: “I can’t give you the meal for $0.83.”

The customer frowns and pushes the money towards me.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. Unfortunately, nothing on the menu can be bought for $0.83. Do you maybe have more change or anything that you didn’t place on the counter?”

The customer’s eyes widen and he starts searching through his pockets.

Me: “Sir, would it be possible for me to help the other customers in line while you look?” 

He nods, so I move onto the next customer, hoping to whittle down the long line. After finishing with the next customer, I check back in with him.

Customer: “Okay, I want a [Combo #3], large size, please.”

I look at the pile of change, which has only grown by a couple of pennies, and sigh internally. This combo is even more than the first. I want to help this man, who seems slightly confused but very hungry, but such a large discrepancy would get me in trouble with my manager.

Me: “Sir, unfortunately, that is not enough to cover the amount.”

The next customer in line has been watching the entire exchange, and comes up to the counter.

Next Customer: “Here, I want to help this gentleman out, but I don’t have a lot to spare.”

He hands me a $5 bill. The customer sees the $5 now on his stack of change and gets excited, looking up at me hopefully.

Me: “Well, sir, I can’t give you a large combo, but how about a regular-sized [Combo #1]?”

The customer nods vigorously and I punch in the order, including a small family/friends discount, so that he will still get some of his change back. He happily takes his cup and goes to sit in the dining room. I turn to the next customer who helped him.

Me: “Thank you so much. I was really torn about what to do! I didn’t want to have to make him leave without food, but I can’t give away free food!”

Next Customer: “It wasn’t a problem; I enjoy helping people out when I can!”

I processed her order — also adding the family/friends discount — and she smiled at me and headed off with a wink. Faith in the general public restored!


This story is included in our Feel-Good roundup for June 2020!

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