It seemed like it happened overnight. In fact, I’m almost sure with the frequency at which I visit the restaurant in question that it DID happen over night. There is a Wendy’s near my workplace that (for the most part) was very much a standard affair. Burgers, fries, spicy chicken sandwiches, etc. (never eat the chili) served by college students working part-time and retired people that didn’t have a 401k. Who can go wrong with a 4 for $4 deal with an ice cold coke? I felt safe there.
My love affair with Wendy’s is a long standing staple in my life. I can remember visiting her when I was young, spending the summers with my grandparents. The SUPER BAR had just been added and it was a little boy’s paradise. Spaghetti, nachos, pepperoni as far as the eye could see… oh… and salad. It was amazing. Then in college… everyone experiments in college. But not me. After a hard day of classes and a shift at Cracker Barrel, I would take my crumpled up dollars across the street for a Double Stack, fries and a coke. Wendy’s was always there for me. So I was… unprepared… for what took place last week.
One day it was business as usual. The next day I was in a hurry and pulled up to the drive-thru at my hamburger haven. Then… nothing. There were no cars ahead of me. There was no greeting from the speaker. I did a lap to make sure the fault wasn’t mine and the restaurant was truly open. There were patrons inside. So I pulled up again… nothing. So I made the first move. “Hello?” I called into the speaker. Nothing. “Hello?” I called again.
“I’ll BE right WITH you!” The sassiest voice I had ever heard responded. It was a lash to the face. Here I was waiting patiently, where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to do… but such was the voice that I felt reproached and taken aback.
Then completely by accident I found out why I had been forced to wait. The woman working the drive through forgot to shut her microphone back off and I was forced to eavesdrop on her half of the conversation with her co-worker. I would spare you the details, but what fun is there in that.
Apparently, it was no wonder Tanisha couldn’t keep a man. She COULD-A if she would just shut her mouth once and a while and that is what my (Drive-thru lady’s) sister told her… TO HER FACE. That’s right. You know there was nothing wrong with those men. Drive-thru lady even dated a few herself, but don’t tell that to Tanisha.
Yes sir, what do you want?
What do you want?
I want a 4 for 4 with coke.
Is that all? That’s it?
As if I was supposed to have some greater purpose in the drive-thru at Wendy’s. Do other people have greater needs than food in the drive-thru? Was I supposed to bring an offering to Wendy’s? Am I bothering this woman with my trivial need for a burger? Is she inside on a throne ready to dispense riches and justice if only I would have asked? DID I MESS UP MY ONE SHOT AT WENDY’S FORTUNE AND GLORY?!?!
Uh. And some sweet and sour for the nuggets.
We are out. We have creamy sriracha… or BBQ.
BBQ is fine.
(Sigh through the mic)
So without being invited or asked I tempted fate and pulled around… not to the first window shrouded in darkness, but the second window. Still not knowing my total or if I should even be there, I started to get nervous. What would this trip ultimately cost me? Suddenly, the windows flew open. And I got a glimpse of the mystery phantasm behind the voice. In fact, I saw three of the women working that shift because they were all standing around talking to each other. A part of me admired their laissez-faire attitude toward work and the line of customers piling up. The other part of me was hungry.
The woman I can only identify as the woman dating Tanisha’s leftovers, held out her hand without looking at me. I thought about giving her five, but the fact she appeared to be 6’5” and 280 lbs of sassy gave me pause. I reached out to hand her my credit card and that is when IT happened.
She suddenly turned to look at me, snatched my arm by the wrist and practically pulled me from my car, out the window, and into the restaurant exclaiming, “OH MY GOD!” If not for my seatbelt, I might have had my whole arm through the portal with my face smooshed on the glass. “I love your tattoos! Tina, get over here and look at these tattoos!” I never in my life imagined a scenario where I would pulled into a restaurant through the drive-thru window. But never-the-less, here we are. The other two ladies working (I use that term loosely) came over and they were equally tall and large. It was as if the Wendy’s I had frequented had either experienced drastic turnover employing the audience from a Ricki Lake rerun, or it had simply been taken over by a band of Amazonian women who aren’t actually employed. They just have nothing better to do than conquer and hang out inside a Wendy’s.
The only response I could muster in my shock was “thank you” but apparently it was the magic word because I got my arm back sans credit card. The women quickly forgot about me and fell into squabbling with each other. Tina handed me a bag of food. #3 yelled at Tina for not giving me a straw in the bag. Tina said she didn’t need to since I didn’t have a drink. So #3 yelled at Drive-Thru because she hadn’t given me a drink. Drive-Thru yelled at Tina for giving me the bag before she had a chance to get the drink. Drive-Thru poured my drink and Tina yelled at her for not giving me back my credit card. #3 told Tina to mind her own business. Drive-True told them all off. And finally Tina yelled at #3 for wearing so much make-up.
You have everything you need?
Sauce for the nuggets?
What kind did you want? Creamy sriracha?
Sweet and Sour but I’ll settle for BBQ.
We are out of that. You want creamy sriracha?
Well that’s all we got. You might as well have some creamy sriracha!
I wanted to tell her to stop peddling that hipster nonsense and for the love of the great God stop saying, “Creamy Sriracha!” It sounds terrible. I drove away thinking this must be some kind of dream or freak chance encounter. But I have been back twice since and these three women are always working. Day and Night. Tina, Drive-Thru, #3 and their creamy sriracha! I’m going to need a new lunch spot.