We woke up Thursday morning with Mexico on our minds, but grumbles in our stomachs. As we drove out of Casa Grande we passed a Chick-fil-A fast food joint and suddenly Shane was transported back in time to the days he spent living in South Carolina where Chick-fil-A was a way of life. As we pulled in line at the drive through we realized it was lunch time and the place was packed. Turning to Nate, Shane said, “Let’s buy a bunch of people’s meals that are behind us in the drive through!”
After ordering Shane pulled up to the window and handed his debit card to the cashier to pay for his meal. When she handed it back with a receipt she asked, “Would you like any extra sauces with that?” Shane smiled and said, “No, but I would like to pay for the meals for everyone behind us.” The cashier looked perfectly puzzled as Shane handed her a $100 bill and said, “As many meals as this will cover.” Still uncertain she asked, “Are you sure?” Shane quickly replied, “Absolutely.”
The cashier left to get a supervisor to facilitate the transaction and make sure everything was entered right. The two returned with joyous enthusiasm as the manager asked if we were for real. Shane assured her that we are very real as he explained what Project Wildness was all about. He handed over a stack of stickers so they could pass them out to the patrons who received a complimentary meal and then we drove off. Before we even left the parking lot Nate suggested we do the same thing across the street at the In-N-Out Burger.
We ordered a few things and pulled around to the first window at the In-N-Out Burger to pay. A young man greeted us as Shane paid for the ordered items. Again, Shane handed the cashier $100 and said, “I would also like to pay for as many people as this can pay for behind us.” Much like the Chick-fil-A cashier he couldn’t believe what he was hearing and simply asked, “Seriously?” It seems “Seriously” is the common response to an event like this and perhaps that is because of how uncommon it is to pay for a stranger’s meal.
Shane pulled forward to receive the food we ordered and what appeared to be a manager caught up with us. He squeezed his way into the window and said, “I just wanted to let you guys know how awesome this is – what you are doing.” We thanked him and drove off without knowing who we bought meals for and how we impacted them.
Nate suggested we go back to each drive through after a while to see what type of reactions the customers had. We pulled around to the window at Chick-fil-A where we were greeted by two familiar faces. Before Shane could say a word the manager started recanting customer reactions that ranged from utter confusion to complete joy. Several customers even wanted to pay for the people behind of them since their meal was free.
After hearing the stories from Chick-fil-A we drove across the street one more time to the In-N-Out Burger. As we pulled up to order Nate suggested Shane use a different voice so they didn’t recognize us. Shane has two accents; Canadian and southern and neither are very good. He went with his best southern accent and ordered a lemonade. As we pulled around the corner we were recognized immediately by the workers who crowded the window to tell us how many people we paid for and all their reactions.
We set out to buy a few meals for some lucky customers who happened to be in our rearview mirror, but what we didn’t expect was the excitement generated by the staff at both fast food joints. Initially we were thinking about how we wouldn’t be able to really capture the reactions of each individual who pulled into the drive through. Ultimately, we may have discovered something greater altogether; when you do a good deed others will notice. The impact of a good deed goes far beyond the origin just like waves on the ocean.
Do a good deed. Make some waves. #ProjectWildness
Diane C… Before we left on the first trip you walked into my office and gave me your donation. I could tell you were inspired by our cause and wanted to be part of it, but you weren’t sure what you wanted your money to go towards. Before the end of the day you said you had always wanted to buy someone’s meal in a drive through. You bought more than just one meal today and you inspired others to do the exact same thing. Thank you for all that you do and it was a pleasure working alongside you!
Barbra B… You requested that we buy a family or two lunch. I’m not exactly sure how many families we bought lunch for, but I am positive it was at least two and probably more. Shortly after we left the first drive through we received a message on our Facebook wall from a woman thanking us for buying lunch for her husband. I would like to officially pass that on to you because you are responsible for the gratitude we received.
Robert S… You gave blindly with no suggestion as to where your money went. In a similar spirit we passed it on to individuals we never had a chance to meet and most likely never will meet. Know that your donation not only brightened the day of dozens of people, but also uplifted and inspired a handful of fast food employees as well.