I’m Lovin’ It

, , , , , | Hopeless | June 5, 2018

I have a mild immune deficiency that caused me to get extremely sick a lot as a baby. At this point, my parents were stressed out, devoting most of their funds on hand to treating my various long-term infections, and short on time. They quickly became acquainted with various McDonald’s restaurants as a result.

One day, a particularly attentive McDonald’s cashier noticed that my dad looked frazzled as he placed his order at the counter, and after submitting his order, she asked if he was okay. He explained the situation as politely as he could, but it was difficult for him to restrain his frustration and worry. The cashier was an excellent listener, though, and approached him with validation and understanding. Then, she walked away from the register for a bit and pulled something out of a large cardboard box.

It was a Spongebob figurine, meant for an upcoming Happy Meal promotion. Despite the hollow and cheap plastic feel of the toy, it was well-made and durable. It even had some simple articulation that gave Spongebob’s right arm patty-flipping action. The cashier handed it to my dad at no extra cost with the ordered food.

It was just a toy, but it was more than my parents could have ever asked for at that moment. They had to put the fun of finding baby toys and games for me on hold while I got better, and they badly needed the validation that I was going to make it past infancy. The cashier helped with both, and to this day, we are very grateful for her generosity. The toy is long gone now, but the memory of how supportive the cashier was when she had no obligation to be remains ever present and special.

McDonald’s cashiers are often seen as the lowest of the low, the dumbest of the failures at life. But stories like this remind me that the stereotype is unfounded. Wherever you are, McDonald’s cashier, thank you, on behalf of my parents.