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That Time Search And Rescue Almost Had To Report To A Drive-Thru

, , , , , , , | Working | December 5, 2021

I’m an accountant. It’s early February, and everyone is getting their W2s. This is the first rush to get your taxes done, and we are fully booked. This means I’m working crazy hours doing people’s taxes. I’m working from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. I don’t have time between clients to eat, so I eat a big breakfast and usually get something from a fast food place before bed. I usually go to marginally healthier places.

Tonight, there is a terrible blizzard. Instead of driving out of my way on the dangerous roads, I decide to visit the burger place with a drive-thru that’s near my home. It’s a bit after 10:00, and the sun’s well set, but the street lights are still on. Big huge flakes are falling from the sky, but the roads are mostly clear thanks to Minneapolis’s wonderful, overworked, but very effective snow removal people. I’m a bit low on gas, and my phone is dead.

The parking lot for the burger place is full of snow about two-thirds as tall as my tiny compact car, but there appears to be a shoveled-out line through the drive-thru, so I’m not worried.

I should have been worried. The path gets rougher and rougher the deeper I go into the line for the speaker. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t turned into the parking lot, but by the time I have finished my turn, it is already impossible to go back.

I order some food at the window… and my car becomes stuck. I can’t drive it forward any further; the wheels just spin.

I ask the employees for help. They can’t come out for safety reasons. That’s fine; I fully understand.

Could they pass me a shovel through the window with which to shovel out my car? No, they don’t have one. 

Do they have any salt I could apply? How about packets of salt for the fries? No, they can’t do that. 

What about cardboard? Do they have any old fries containers I could put under my wheels? Drink containers? Paper bags? No, can’t hand those out like that, either.

Is there someone who’s supposed to have cleared the parking lot? There’s a private company that’s supposed to do it, and they haven’t.

How are they going to get their own cars out of the parking lot? They don’t know. Their own cars are well and buried. (I feel pretty sorry for them, too, at this point.)

Could they have maybe put a sign out at the entrance saying, “Enter at your own risk.”? If I’d been warned, I wouldn’t have come through. No, that’s against policy, too.

Could one of them use the phone in there to call a tow truck? My phone is dead. Nope. They’re not allowed to use the phones inside for that purpose.

Could they call my spouse who lives with me about five blocks away? Nope, can’t do that either.

Can I leave my car here, walk five blocks back home, grab my shovel from home, and dig my car out? No. Apparently, I’m not permitted to leave my car here; they’d call the cops to give me a ticket.

Could they call the cops without me leaving the car here so I can get some help getting out of the snow? No.

What the f***?!

Could I come in out of the cold so I don’t freeze while I wait for someone to rescue me? I don’t want to leave my car running, I’ve only got a quarter tank, and I don’t know how long this could take. No, that’s too risky. Apparently, I could be a physical threat to them. Or someone could, and it’s unfair to play favorites. Fine, I understand.

So, I waited with my car turned off, in the cold, wearing a suit and a tie, until someone else got to the drive-thru and was willing to help me get my car loose with the old cardboard and pushing trick.

I drove off without paying for nor picking up my order. I did try to give the guy who helped me a twenty, but he said he didn’t want any money.

I understand that they couldn’t help me, and I understand why, but it was a very frustrating and frightening experience.

And if they can’t provide for the safety of their customers, why couldn’t they have posted a sign saying so? I wouldn’t have gone into their drive-thru had it been apparent from the street that I was on my own. I’ve not eaten there ever since, especially not on snowy days. It seems too risky.

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