Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jesus Died for Everyone, Even The Jerk in the Jetta

(Repost...originally written & posted on Myspace on date listed below)
Friday, April 06, 2007
Jesus Died For Everyone, Even the Jerk in the Jetta
Current mood: irate

It is Good Friday, the beginning of the most holy time in the Christian calendar, and I am already started out on the wrong foot. So I thought I'd share it with you, so that you can be just as ill and befuddled as I am now.

On my way home from the office, I decided to stop at Chili's and pick up an order of their chips and salsa. If you haven't had them, I highly recommend them! The salsa has just the right kick and the chips are thin and crispy with just the right amount of salt. When I decide I want them, my "taster is set," as my daddy would say, and nothing else will do. I order them so often, that Chili's number is saved in my phone. I call in my order when I reach Edward's Lake Road, so by the time I pull up in the To Go lane, they are standing there with the bag. I am sure this is why they ask, not only my name, but also what kind of car I am driving.

Today was no different, except that I took a little detour by TJ Maxx that is right behind Chili's, so I was a little later than usual getting into line. No problem, it's just chips & salsa. It's not like I've got a rack of baby-backs cooling off and potentially breeding some mysterious and deadly pork-borne food poision.

When I reach Chili's, they are as packed as any other on a Friday night. I am third in the to-go line, behind a silver Jetta.Now anyone who has ever had to go thru a drive thru has, from time to time, been asked to "pull up" to wait until their food is ready. This usually happens to Cyndi and me because we are usually trying to feed an army of hungry chilldren and we have placed an astronomical order. Usually, someone, or several someones, with smaller orders get their food before us. It happens. I understand the concept of moving people thru the line as quickly as possible and meeting the orders that can be met. I've worked in Customer Service long enough to realize that you do what you can do and that's all you can do. Clear the line. Don't have a problem with it and I don't mind waiting.

Usually, my little chips & salsa order is considered a small order, and often, knowing I am the silver Saturn, when they see me waiting, they bring my small order while others are still waiting for their food.

I sat patiently as the young man handling the to-go orders went back and forth handling the customer in the first car. He was apparently manning the to-go line by himself, because he never looked back down the line at the other cars waiting. After about 10 minutes, the first car got their food and moved out of the line. The silver Jetta in front of me inched forward and I followed close behind. To-Go Man bebopped up to the Jetta with a ticket in hand, and soon disappered back in the glass door. He made this trip several more times in the space of about 10 more minutes, still not acknowledging anyone else in the line.After a few more minutes, I decided to just see if my little order was ready and I would be one less person waiting. Obviously, Mr Jetta had a sizeable order that was being cooked while he waited. So I hopped out of my car and went in the to-go door. As I had suspected, my order was sitting on the counter.

The manager, a very short, dark-haired man named Joe, met me in the alcove and asked if he could help me. I told him that I had ordered chips and salsa close to 45 minutes ago and thought I would see if I could go ahead and get them. He checked the bag on the counter, verified it was my order, and handed the ticket to To-Go Man and handed me the bag. Little Joe also gave me a little magnet with the Chili's To-Go logo and phone number on it in appreciation of my patience.

Just as I thanked Little Joe for the magnet and assured him it would be put to good use, Mr Jetta, whom I will from here further refer to as The Jerk in the Jetta (or JJ for short) snatched open the to-go door."Are you waiting on her or are you waiting on me!" he yelled, startling everyone standing in the alcove. "There is a line you know!" Joe responded that they were preparing his order, and with that JJ closed the door. He began pacing like a caged tiger under the canopy between the door and his car. He looked to be one of those uptight, Junior executive types, who had just spent his only off day in three months lugging the CEO's clubs around the country club. He was dressed in khaki's, an all-weather pull over with a logo I couldn't make out, a matching visor and a Bluetooth blinked like a strobe on the side of his head.

To-Go Man swipped my card and hastily handed me the slip to sign as he went about printing JJ's ticket. I laid my signed ticket on the counter and as I turned to leave, JJ again snatched open the door.

"I'm sorry," I said smiling, "I only had chips and salsa." I unlocked my car with the remote and started to get in.

"Oh and that makes your order more important than mine?!" He yelled. "Excuse me?!" I responded, shocked . "That was very rude, there was a line!" JJ retorted. To-Go Man was standing next to him, trying valiantly to hand him the ticket to sign. "There's such a thing as manners you know." I couldn't believe this was happening. "It was just chips and salsa" I repeated. "And that is SOOO important" he repeated."No, it's not more important, but I didn't see the point in waiting 45 minutes for chips and salsa that was already ready" I was starting to get a little hot. I was an hour past taking my second blood-pressure pill of the day, and I could feel my heart starting to rev up. I couldn't believe this jerk was getting so torqued. "I was first, there was a line, but if your time is SOOO much more important.." JJ yelled at me again.

I knew I'd better get in my car and get out before I clocked JJ with my precious chips and salsa that I had waited an hour to get and wound up having to call someone to get me out of jail for assault with a deadly condiment. "Some people have no manners" he yelled again, signing the ticket with a flourish.

What the hell did this have to do with manners? Obviously JJ had never had to pull up and wait for his food, while smaller orders were handled around him. Maybe that strobing Bluetooth was causing a mini-seizure that triggered some long dormant case of Tourettes.

I was beginning to see my pulse in my eyeballs, and in one last ditch effort to get the last word, I leaned out my half open door, car running and yelled "JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A PENIS DOES NOT MAKE YOU MORE IMPORTANT THAT EVERYBODY!" With that I slammed my door and drove off. As I turned left onto Highway 11 and passed back in front of Chili's I saw JJ jesturing wildly at To-Go Man and Little Joe.

You know how after you have a confrontation you can think of a thousand great things to say? Well on the drive from Trussville to Moody, my brain was working overtime. I felt bad for To-Go Man, who I was sure was now in trouble for my inpertenance. I decided to call back and make sure he was not reprimanded for what happened.

Little Joe answered my call. I told him who I was and that I wanted to call and apologize for what had happened and make sure that To-Go Man did not get into trouble. I explained that I ordered chips and salsa often and was often helped out of turn, while other customers ahead of me waited for their larger orders. He told me that To-Go Man was a rookie, and he would revisit the procedure and assured me that he was in no trouble. I even apologized for arrogant JJ, who should have apologized for himself . Little Joe thanked me for my call and my willingness to apologize. He said that I was the type of customer that Chili's wanted and thanked me for being a loyal customer and that he looked forward to the opportunity to serve me again.

Some what vindicated, I drove on to Cyndi's where I was to watch her children while she went out on a much deserved dinner alone with her honey. I recounted my story, my blood still at near boiling. She was impressed with the cleverness of my final retort. (Of course she would be, it sounded more like something she would have said herself than something I'd have come up with on my own,) I began to rattle off the things I should have said that I'd thought of on the drive home."I wish I'd had the presence of mind to say 'Happy Easter to you too' instead." I said remorsefully, "You know, made him feel bad for being such a jerk." Then Cyndi, my ever-clever bossom buddy responded, "No, what you should have said was 'And to think, it never ceases to amaze me, that Jesus died for you too."

And so He did.

And we will be celebrating His triumph over death and the grave in two days time.I'll be the one down front, on the altar, begging forgiveness for wanting chips and salsa.

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