To the Lady at McDonald's,
I had a day. It started out okay. It was going pretty good actually. Had some friends coming over to swim with my kids. Work was going smooth and knew I’d have time for a few hours off to visit. But all that changed in one second.
A few weeks ago, a beer bottle fell and broke on my floor. My husband and I did our best to clean up all the glass and spilled beer. All was well or so we thought.
My son was walking through the living room as he does all day everyday but this time he fell on our shag carpet and started screaming. I picked him up not sure what had happened but then I saw the blood on his foot. There was a tiny glass shard sticking out the bottom of his foot. I could see the sharp edge and despite my toddler screaming for dear life tried my best to get it out. After failing miserably, I called my pediatrician for advice and let my son float in the pool until we had to go see the doc.
My friends left and I packed up my limping son and pouting daughter for the doc. I got in the car and realized I’d not drank much all day and was dying of thirst. I parked at the doctor and since it’s the same plaza as a CVS, I carried the injured toddler across the lot with my still sulking daughter to get a Gatorade. After getting the Gatorade, I went to pay and at that point my arm was throbbing from holding my 26 lb kid. So while holding him and trying to pay I somehow dropped the entire contents of my purse and my wallet on the floor. Now I couldn’t put my son down because of his foot. My face was beet red and I was dripping with sweat as I quickly had my daughter help me fill back up my bag. The man behind me in line was smiling as I apologized for the hold up but he was very gracious and polite so there was that. I literally ran out of CVS with both kids to get to the doctor’s office on time.
Once in the AC again and checked in, I went to put my wallet and purse back together again. That’s when I noticed something was missing. My change purse full of gift cards was not accounted for. I quickly called CVS and the woman found half of my purse still on the floor. FUN! I assured her I’d be right back after my appointment.
Meanwhile the doctor looked at my son’s foot and he had to get the glass shard out. For the next 10 minutes, my one and half year old sat on my lap squeezing my head and his blankies screaming and crying and sweating while the doctor dug the shard out with a needle. All the while my daughter hiding behind me worried about the situation wondering if it would ever end.
I put on a brave front but I was ready to lose it. I had left my purse contents in CVS, my son was going to hate me for life for A: leaving a glass shard behind and B: letting a doctor gouge out his foot with a needle. An eternity later the miniscule shard was out and despite the dramatics and pain, my son was perfectly fine. I walked out of the office holding in the tears.
Back to CVS I went to got my change purse, my chapstick, library card, and old shopping list and pen. Whoops...
I told the kids I’d get them McDonalds for dinner. After that whole ordeal and it being 5:30, hell no was I going home and trying to get dinner sorted. I knew I had a buy one, get one free Happy Meal coupon. I figured we’d end the day on a fun note. Who doesn’t love a Happy Meal! I mean, it was the least I could do after my son enduring the pain and my daughter having to witness it.
Upon reaching the drive through, I checked my McDonald’s app. I knew I had a paper coupon but thought the app had the same deal. I ordered and when I reached the pay window, realized the app deal was not that. It was buy a salad or meal and get a free Happy Meal. Fuck. I had that paper coupon though but no idea where it went. I had already told the guy I had it. That’s when you, the manager lady, came over to the window.
You saw the look on my face. You could tell I’d been through hell and back with this whole glass in my son’s foot ordeal without me having to say anything. I embarrassingly searched through my wallet and phone for the deal. It’s not like I couldn't afford two happy meals but I had a coupon! I could feel the tears start to well up in my eyes. I kept thinking in my head, this is nothing. Life could be so much worse. Just as I was about to throw my hands up and say forget it, I’ll just pay for both, you said, you know what, don’t worry about it. I’ll put in the coupon. I’m sure you have it somewhere.
Simple. You took my word and gave me the deal.
It was a very small gesture but relief washed over me. I felt like I was going to be okay. I made it through the day and you, a perfect stranger, had my back. So thank you lady at McDonald’s. You gave me a free Happy meal and gave his hard working, tired, stressed out momma a break.
The mom who forgot her coupon