I don’t always take the time to make little connections with people.

I stopped at Taco Bell on the way home from Portland last night. My work partner and I had just dropped a patient off at a hospital in that area, and I was a little hungry.

I went inside, and almost immediately a slightly disheveled young lady with the tag “Shift Leader” came around to take my order. I asked “how’s it going,” and she proceeded to tell me how busy it had been a few hours earlier. I asked if there was anything special going on, thinking graduations or some such. She mentioned it was because of KFC’s latest special deal.

I looked the menu over and asked if I could have two crunchy tacos. The young lady paused for just a split-second and said “no”. It was a good kind of humor, and I appreciated it. She rung in my order and I handed her $5. She again joked, stating “I can’t take this.” To this I finally replied, “rough crowd!”

When she brought my tacos, I noticed the chocolate chip cookies beside the register. Knowing that my partner had a biscuit for me in the ambulance and I had nothing in trade, I told the young lady that I had to buy a cookie while hauling my wallet back out. She asked if I wanted just one. I said yes and she then said she would just give me one. When she was bagging it, she said “what the heck, I’ll give you two.” I left, telling the young lady she was my new favorite.

Since leaving her place of business, I have told my work partner and my wife about this exchange. Now I’m telling anyone who wants to read on the internet. I took just a few seconds to honestly ask about her day, and she provided excellent customer service (even if she hadn’t given me free cookies).

I know we’re used to thinking about fast-food workers as low people on the totem pole. I joke that way sometimes, too. However, I really feel that they are providing a great service and their jobs are important. Besides that, they are important as people. Each and every one of those workers has a life outside of that job. They have interesting personalities, and quite often see things in different ways than I do. I can learn a lot from engaging them and getting to know them, even if just for a couple of minutes.

There are many, many interesting people out there, and they show up everywhere. I continue to try not to overlook them.

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