Monday, August 06, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 28

The Time Mookie Watched Dollar Don Get Someone Fired

This reportedly came from a Burger King.  I guarantee
this is nothing compared to things I've seen.
As I have previously noted in a past story, I used to jockey the front counter and drive-thru at the local Hardee’s during high school and part of college.  Most of the people I worked with were a lot of fun, and we had a lot of laughs.  Fast food is not all fun and games though.  The customers are assholes, and the employees can only take so much abuse from these people.  You know all those stories you hear in the news about someone doing something to the food of particular customers?  I can vouch for those stories and say that the odds are VERY high they are all true.  A cook spitting on a burger?  Seen it.  Stuff dropped on the floor and then served?  Seen it.  Makes you want to run out to Mickey D’s right now doesn’t it???

This story is fortunately not about tampering with the customer’s food.  However it is about what someone did to the burger container of a particular customer.  I’m sure you are going “Huh?”  That’s OK.  It will make perfect sense in a minute.

If you are a regular reader of my Monday Morning Stories, you probably can remember Episode 11:  “TheTime Mookie Had His First “Run-In” With Dollar Don.”  The central character in that story was a guy in my hometown that we called “Dollar Don.”  This guy and his posse of losers endured endless harassment from a good majority of the high school crowd.  People would yell things at him from the Hardee’s parking lot while he was parked over at the Coastal Mart gas station across the highway.  Middle fingers, “F you!” exclamations, and threats of kicking each other’s asses were the standard communication between the parties.  I have numerous stories about the various “battles” we all endured with Dollar Don.  This is yet another one of those tales.

One night I was working the front counter at Hardee’s, and one of my fellow employees – “Calvin” was working the grill.  It escapes me who was working the drive-thru window, but I know she was an unknowing participant to what was about to happen.  Let’s call her “Pat.” The manager on duty – “Betty” was in the back office doing the nightly accounting.  It was during a lull in business that Calvin and I were talking when we noticed a very familiar van pull into the parking lot, and drive around the building to the drive-thru menu board.  Calvin goes “Was that Dollar (Don)?” 

The “beeper” that signaled someone was at the menu board went off, and Pat went over and pushed the speaker button and gave out her friendly “Welcome to Hardee’s, how can I help you?”  The voice that came back was unmistakably Dollar’s voice.  “Yep.  That’s him.” I said.  Calvin smiled, raised his eyebrows and turned to his grill and food prep station.  I didn’t want to know what he was going to do.  Calvin previously had several run-ins with Dollar outside of Hardee’s, usually in the parking lot or over the CB radios they communicated on.  So there was no love between the two.

Upon completion of giving his food order, Dollar drove the van around the building and parked at the drive-up window.  I looked over and I could see him and his greasy hair, and noticed the van was full of the usual suspects:  Claude-head, Cracker Jack, Slim Jim, and a Dollar Jr or two.  I continued my front counter duties while Pat bagged up Dollar’s food that Calvin had made and slid into the heated transfer area.  Pat completed the transaction with Dollar, and he drove away out of the parking lot.  I looked back at Calvin, and said “What did you do?”  His reply was “Me?  I didn’t do anything.”  Then he smiled.  Oh no.

A few minutes went by, and then I witnessed the Dollar Van flying back into the parking lot and into a parking space.  The entire crowd gets out of the van and is making their way to the building with apparent anger.  Oh God.

Dollar arrives at the counter and says “You guys think you are real f*ckin’ funny don’t you??”  I try to be the calm helpful employee, and I say “What is the problem sir?”  (Yeah I called him sir.  It was funny.)  He proceeds to pull out the quarter pound cheese burger he ordered out of the bag, and opens the Styrofoam box it was in.  There on inside lid of the box was a red dollar sign ($) written with a red grease pencil.  I honestly had no words.  I wanted to laugh like hell, but somehow held that back.  Dollar and Claude-head continued their diatribe (rightly so) over this form of harassment, and wanted to speak to the manager.  Betty had already overheard the commotion and was on her way to the front counter.

“Sir, how can I help you?  What is the problem?”  Dollar repeated his irate comments and showed Betty the box.  She looked at me and Pat with a surprised  “did you do this?” kind of look.  I shook my head “no,” (as did Pat) and Betty’s shoulders sunk.  She knew who did it.  “CALVIN!”  she called to the back.  Calvin came to the front with an expression that I would describe as though he appeared “cluelessly innocent but curious” as to what was going on up front here. 

“Did you do this?” Betty asked him.  Calvin couldn’t restrain himself and smiled.  “Yeah.  Yeah I did it.”

Betty of course was as apologetic as can be, but then made Calvin apologize to Dollar like he was a 4 year old kid.  The idea of this to me was HILARIOUS, but to his credit -  he actually did it.  The best part was that he sounded sincere.  It was truly an Academy Award performance because I knew that if Calvin was going to be apologetic to someone and mean it, Dollar Don was NOT that person.

Betty then sent him to the back and told him to sit down and wait for her.  She then refunded Dollar’s money and personally made Dollar and family all new food.  This seemed to appease the Dollar Clan to an extent, but I’m sure they were still bitter when they left.

The whole scene was amazing to watch.  I wanted to laugh, but didn’t want to end up with Calvin sitting in the back.  Plus I was impressed with the balls Calvin had to do such a thing.  Then again, he could have just been stupid.  It’s a fine line sometimes.  I was also afraid Dollar and the gang would come over the counter and resort to fisticuffs – as they were known to do to “settle” things from time to time.  Especially with smart-mouth high school kids.

Pat and I stayed up at the front while Betty went to the back to deal with Calvin.  A few minutes later, due to his “gross negligence” and “poor conduct,” good old Calvin was relieved of his duties there and forevermore from the local eatery.

In the ethical sense, Dollar won this round against the local youth.  He ended up with free food, and he got one of his harassers fired.  However I have to raise my glass to Calvin on this one.  He took a shot that few people would have attempted in his situation.  This took a significant amount of bravery/stupidity on his part, and he paid the price for his deed in the fight against Dollar Don.  Then again, he got fired from HARDEE’S.  They probably did him a favor, and he still got to screw with Dollar.  Win-Win for him.

Definitely a "win" for us all.

* - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

Have you missed a previous episode of Monday Morning Stories With Mookie?  Click HERE!

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