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My Pride and McDonald’s




by Bethany Garcia

I wasn’t very happy with my new job at McDonald’s. Who is?

I needed a job. I imagined myself in a cute coffee shop, knowing the regulars by name. All the cute girls worked at coffee shops, and I was determined to become one of them. But as I went from shop to shop, the management told me that I was either too young or they just weren’t hiring. I still needed a job, though.

My mom, being the helpful and resourceful woman she is, suggested I apply at the local McDonald’s. As I winced she reminded me of the positive aspects of working there: it was close to our house, it was a good starting place, and I really didn’t have a choice—that’s where I was going to apply.

I, however, could think of many reasons not to work at McDonald’s, and most of them could be summed up by the words “social suicide!”

In my small town, McDonald’s is one of only two fast-food restaurants so everybody in town eats there. Everyone would see me wearing greasy clothes, serving greasy food. How could I, Bethany Garcia, work at a place like McDonald’s? Only people who couldn’t get hired anywhere else worked there, which surely wasn’t me.

At my mother’s request I forced myself to ask for an application at McDonald’s. I remember filling out the application in a bright-blue booth with dried catsup on the sticky tabletop. I hoped some of it would adhere to my application, making me look like a poor candidate. I nervously handed in the application to a girl at the cash register. Perhaps she’ll lose it or throw it away, I hoped. Then I prayed, God, please intervene and give me a job at a coffee shop!

Just what I didn’t want . . .

About a month later, after returning from a mission trip, I had completely forgotten about turning in the application at McDonald’s. But as soon as I got home from the trip, my mother triumphantly informed me that I had an interview at McDonald’s in a few days. She also informed me that my 14-year-old brother, who was actually excited about his job, had already gotten hired.

Ugh!

The interview went well, and I cringed as the store manager immediately hired me. A few days later I had to pick up my uniform. Mom was with me as I walked into McDonald’s branch office. I gave the woman behind the desk my pants and shirt sizes, and she disappeared into the back for a few minutes.

My mom calmly smiled at me, encouraging me, “You’ll look good in the uniform.”

But I knew I wouldn’t.

The office woman returned. In one hand she held a navy-blue polo shirt with small golden arches embroidered on it. She explained, “We have only extra-large shirts in stock. However, this is what you’ll need to wear until we order new ones.

In her other hand she held used, faded black slacks. I tried on the pants in the bathroom. They buttoned up above my belly button, the zipper seemed to be a foot long, and unimaginably long pleats finished the look.

I walked out of the bathroom to model for Mom. I could tell she was holding in a giggle. When we got into the car, Mom just smiled at me. I began crying. I was angry! Not only did I have to work at a loser place, I also had to look like one!

On my first day of work, I tucked my extra-large shirt into my pants that zipped up too high, laced up my new nonslip shoes, and drove slowly to work. I tried to be optimistic, Maybe I’ll learn the cash register—at least I won’t have to make the food.

I was immediately disappointed when I found out I’d be learning the “meats” position. I had to cook all the meat and keep the heated cabinet stocked with fresh meat. It was the job no one else wanted.

Eventually I graduated from the meats position to the assembly line, where I learned to make a cheeseburger in less than two minutes. At night I dreamed about customers ordering 1,000 double cheeseburgers, and me having to make them all by myself.

As time went on I got to know some of the people working with me. Jeff, who we called “Big Red” because of his red hair and husky body type, told jokes and stories that kept us laughing. Luke and Josh were taking music theory at the community college. They sang scales as they did their work. Emily hated working at McDonald’s, but we enjoyed talking about music and movies.

Some employees went to high school with me, others were working their way through college. Still others were doing all they could to provide for their families. I started having fun with the employees. After a while I couldn’t wait to go to work to hang out with my new friends.

I learned that my coworkers weren’t worthless or losers. They had lives just like I did. I began to feel thankful for the job God had provided for me—and for my new friends.

I needed to ask God to forgive my previous prideful attitude. I’d wanted a job at a coffee shop, but He humbled me instead. He showed me that it doesn’t matter where I work; I’m not better than anyone else, He created us all equally. At first pride kept me from enjoying God’s provision and my new friends. If I hadn’t gotten rid of that pride, I would’ve missed out on relationships and memories that will stay with me for a lifetime.

I worked at McDonald’s for two years, until I started college. Mom was right, McDonald’s was a good starting place.





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