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Rewards - Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
This evening, while I stood in line to order a pair of burritos from the local Chipotle Mexican Grill, I was approached by a young man. He couldn't have been much more than eight or nine years of age, but he asked me in a very polite tone and with impeccable diction, "Excuse me, sir? Do you know what time it is?" I answered him that it was quarter-past six. He nodded, moved back to his position in line and I and went back to idly staring at the wall, not really thinking anything of the encounter.

It turned out that I was right behind this young fellow when he ordered his burrito bowl. At every step of the ordering process his requests were prefaced with "May I have." He wasn't in a hurry, he knew what he wanted but he never deviated from using "May I have," at the beginning of his sentences. At the end, when asked if he would like his meal here or to go he said, "I would like to have it for dine in."

I've stood in line at this Chipotle a few dozen times in the years I've been in this neighborhood. The line has always had a widely varied demographic. I've seen children his age and people three times my age ordering. I've seen adults who were impatient, rude, crass. I've seen children who were unruly, ill-mannered or simply out of control. I've seen grown-up mothers lean over the glass sneeze guard to point at ingredients and exhort "More, I want more, give me more." I've seen people be talking into their cell phones gesturing in vague ways at the selection, then yell at the employee when they guessed the wrong ingredient.

I have never seen anybody as well-mannered as this young man-to-be.

When he finally reached the register and was given his total I told the cashier that it would be my pleasure to pay for his meal. The cashier stared at me, as did the young man. I explained, "You were polite asking me what time it was while we were in line. You were very polite when you ordered, more polite than many people I've seen here. Politeness is bloody rare these days, so you deserve to be rewarded." He thanked me, as did an older gent in front of him who may or may not have been a parent, guardian or family friend. It doesn't matter. I wasn't doing it to impress anybody around me, I was doing it to reward a virtue was see all too little of in today's hurried, me-centric society.

Okay, so maybe I did do it to impress something on someone. I did it to impress onto this future politican, this future mechanic, this future engineer that sometimes the world does reward us when we do the right thing -- even if that reward was just a free burrito bowl.

I hope it's an impression that lasts.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: sleepy sleepy
Current Music: James Taylor - Our Town

9 thoughts or Leave a thought
mandydax From: mandydax Date: October 11th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Seriously rare. Go you, and go that delightful boy! :D
points From: points Date: October 11th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bless you, sir.
scarybaldguy From: scarybaldguy Date: October 12th, 2010 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)
This made my night. Good on yer.
chefmongoose From: chefmongoose Date: October 12th, 2010 02:05 am (UTC) (Link)
You're good that way. Go you.
wolfbrotherjoe From: wolfbrotherjoe Date: October 12th, 2010 09:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Bless you both for making each other's days - and ours - a little brighter.
skorzy From: skorzy Date: October 12th, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Always acknowledge manners, especially in public. I have done similar things within my capacity in the past. I'm more focussed on parents that are practicing good parenting skills when in public, as I think that is the rarest thing to witness of all.
yotogi From: yotogi Date: October 12th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
The correct answer and well done.
emoburd From: emoburd Date: November 14th, 2010 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Love the icon. That man's the reason I now love Flan.
emoburd From: emoburd Date: November 14th, 2010 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I've paid the toll for cars behind me randomly. It's neat to have someone wave and smile later on down the road.

It was worth every bit of that seven some bucks to do what you did. Good on ya.
9 thoughts or Leave a thought