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The Taco Bell Drive-Thru Incident

I pulled up to the Taco Bell drive-thru Saturday night with the rest of my fellow junk food junkies and within seconds a presence began to hover near my car in the form of a ….stranger.

My first fruitless instinct was to ignore the white blob in my peripheral vision, because as every one knows, if you simply ignore someone they’ll go away, right?

At 10:30pm, I’m not in the mood to give money to a panhandler in the drive-thru. I resent someone taking advantage of my being trapped in line, and I take issue with people asking me for money in a freakin’ drive-thru.

But this person was not taking ignorance for an answer.

I slowly turned my head, my brain already scrambling for nicer words than “get the *&^%$ away from me, you bum!”, and faced my enemy.

It was a girl, maybe in her late teens, in a white sweatshirt, lazily pinned-up hair and various piercings about her face. In her raised hand were some dollar bills.

OK, so now I figured she was holding up money like how piano players have money in their tip jar to encourage you to do the same. Or maybe she was going to ask for change for a dollar, though I couldn’t figure out why, but I didn’t want to participate in whatever swindle job she had planned.

I have trouble saying no to people, so it’s best that I run away from the situation before we reach that point in the conversation.

But I was in the freakin’ drive-thru. Trapped. And I had no idea what my husband sitting next to me was thinking and he wasn’t helping me by telling me what to do. He could have said, “Run away! Just get out of here! Quick there’s no one behind you. Let’s just go! GO GO GO! The gas pedal is on the right, woman! Fer chrissakes, we’ll go to the other Taco Bell!”

But he didn’t say anything. We were both mere deer, caught in headlights. Someday, I’m going to get that ESP surgery they’ve been talking about.


So I rolled down my window still trying to figure out how I was going to worm out of this one.

She said, “Excuse me they’re closed inside but could you buy something for me I’ll give you the money you look like a nice person.”

Oh, God! She was asking for more than just a YES or NO answer. This was something that was going to take TIME. I couldn’t give her an answer and get her out of my life immediately. AUGHHH!!!!

To her credit, in retrospect, she stood a few feet from my car and held up her money, no doubt to indicate that she wasn’t a panhandler and that she didn’t want to scare me with any sudden moves. She was like Elaine in that Seinfeld episode where she said you have to treat them like a squirrel, don’t make any sudden moves or you’ll scare them off.

Meanwhile, I was still in don’t-want-to-do-it-don’t-ask-me-go-away mode. I know, I’m a terrible person.

“Okay, what do you want?” I finally asked.

“Three 5-layer burritos,” the pierced submissively spoken youth said, and she handed me four dollars. “This should be enough. Thank you. Thank you so much. I’ll meet you on the other side.”

Now I fretted about about how to handle this transaction because how would I figure out her change in amongst our own bags of health-threatening faux Mexican food?

It was then that my husband’s first words on the matter commenced:

“Why couldn’t she just go through the drive-thru in her own car.”

He always does this. Expresses sheer brilliance when the moment has passed. Because he actually DOES think of the right thing to say DURING the event. He just doesn’t say it OUT LOUD so everyone can hear it at the opportune time.

I turned to where he was looking and the 5-Layer Burrito girl was talking to another woman standing next to a car in the parking lot, and I wondered the same thing.

“Dang!” I said. “That’s what I should have said to her. So why are we doing this?”

I pulled up to the speaker box/order menu thingie and stressed out that the voice on the other side would not honor my request, but I had to try:

“Uh, can I place two separately rung-up orders…?”

The pause was nearly unbearable before the voice responded: “Sure.”

During the rest of our two-minute journey through the drive-thru, we analyzed the crap out of the situation and decided that the 5-Layer Burrito girl was on foot and probably talking to that other person about how the inside of the restaurant was closed and geez we suck as people and why do we have to be so paranoid and what has the world come to that we can’t be nice to strangers and that’s what you get for living in the city.

I would have felt good about doing a good deed, you know, that whole random acts of kindness thing, except that I felt bad for reacting to 5-Layer Burrito girl so poorly.

At the end of the drive-thru, I handed the girl her food and change. She and the guy she was with smiled and thanked me profusely and told me to have a good night.

What a nice couple of kids.

As we pulled away, my husband said, “Well, at least you have another blog post.”

True dat.

taco bell, 5 layer burrito, drive thru

The Beefy 5 Layer Burrito from Taco Bell

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  1. Ddc94559 says:

    You kept me in suspense to the very end of the post! 

    1.  Well, that’s good to know! Thanks!

  2. Jaimie says:

    When I was a broke teenager without a car, I used to go through the drive-thru on foot! Sometimes the weight sensor wouldn’t trigger whatever cutting edge technology fast food joints use, and when that happened I’d walk around and knock on the window. Yeesh, I was an obnoxious kid… At least Pierced Face Girl was trying to play by the rules, LOL. Very funny post.

    1.  Thanks, Jaimie! I can totally understand the need to occasionally walk through the drive thru. And I would have felt more comfortable if she’d just done that. As weird as it would have looked.

      1. Happysmile says:

        I could see myself accidentally hitting someone who was walking through a drive thru (esp at night), so I’m glad that pierce faced girl asked for this favor.  They usually have rules that you can’t walk through.

        1.  I would be anxioius thinking about that very thing as long as someone was just standing there in a drive-thru without the protection of thousand of pounds of steel. Or plastic, as the case may be.

  3. Okay, first of all, the title alone is making me crack up.

    And, I feel / freak out the same way, when it comes to panhandlers. Especially in the drive-thru. Good thing the 5-Layer-Burrito-Girl wasn’t a panhandler at all!

    And you know I just love me a good Seinfeld reference.

    Awesome blog post!

    1.  Every time I make a Seinfeld reference now, I totally think of you.

  4. Nora Blithe says:

    Me —— don’t-want-to-do-it-don’t-ask-me-go-away mode. I know, I’m a terrible person.

    Only I don’t usually feel bad about it.  Usually. 

    1.  I shouldn’t feel bad about it. But I’m easily guilted. You’d think I grew up Catholic.

  5. Gina says:

    This is a great post! I really like your style of writing.

  6. Somewhere in the blogosphere, there is a blog post by someone waiting in a Taco Bell drive-thru who was approached by a guy asking for $4 so he could get a nice dinner for himself and his girlfriend.

    1.  🙂   Would this be a dcrblogs blog post?

  7. Joanna Jenkins says:

    You are a thousand times nicer than I am.  I think my “evil eye” would have sent that girl running and screaming down the street 😉
    xo jj

    1.  You give me too much credit, Joanna. I couldn’t possibly be any more than 436 times nicer than you. Maybe 437.

  8. P.J. says:

    I love situations like this. Mainly because they create great blog posts! In the end, too, I think you probably earned some good karma. Good story!

    1.  Normally, I’d like to think it would earn me some good karma, but I’m afraid I lost points for reluctancy. Who knows. I guess time will tell on that one.

  9. JoeTaxpayer says:

    I’ve been following you through Expose My Blog, pretty funny stuff. The way our minds go in one direction, then another.
    I embrace the panhandler. A brief recent event – I went to the dentist, in a city where it’s $3 for the meter or $20 to park in the lot. As I was going to turn onto the street I wanted I looked up and asked for a spot, promising to be extra kind to the next person who approached. As I turned the corner, a car pulled out of a spot, and I pulled in. As I stepped out my car, a woman came over and asked for money for a sandwich. I looked at her, like I was expecting her to show up, smiled, and gave her a $5. She touched my arm, thanked me, and said “God bless you, sir.”
    I’m not particularly religious, but this exact situation plays itself over and over again for me.

    1.  How cool that EYB has brought a reader. Your own story is an interesting one and should tell us all something about synchronicity or karma or whatever. Thanks for commenting, Mr. Taxpayer. 🙂

  10. Jayne says:

    I bet that burrito is photo-shopped.  No way does it look that good in person.  
    Just sayin’…

    1.  Oh you KNOW it was photoshopped. And molded. And painted. And spray shellacked (sp?). Like that fake poo. Now, doesn’t that make you wanna run out and get one?

  11. Laughing at your post and laughing at Babs’ concern that you’d run off with the girl’s money. Lemme tell ya, $4 doesn’t buy anything these days. Well, except faux Mexican food. I’m also laughing because that poor girl has no idea you wrote about this and what a gift she handed you in addition to four dollars. Way to make this work for you!

    p.s. Unlike you, I attempted a good deed and wound up with egg on my face. Wrote about it today. And I wasn’t even very nice about my good deed. In fact, I bitched about doing it in my head the whole time. Figure that one out.

    1.  Oh great, now I feel bad about writing about her. I was chiding myself for not getting a picture of her when I could. Perhaps it’s best I didn’t. What if her mother saw it? I could have started a whole scandal. And if there’s one thing we bloggers don’t want, it’s publicity.

  12. […] Goats in Panties – The Taco Bell Drive Through Incident This blog is random…and totally adorable in a “what the hell” sort of […]

  13. Angela Knutsen says:

    Now you’ve done your good deed for 1012

    1.  I only have to do the one? Sweet. 🙂

  14. Debby says:

    I was initially intrigued by the reference to a white blob approaching. I thought for a time that sour cream might be taking over the world, which was a fascinating tangent.

    But I liked your little slice of life. We all do that, judge on appearances and it is good to be reminded that we shouldn’t.

    1. “I thought for a time that sour cream might be taking over the world”
      Okay, that was funny. Can you imagine if sour cream took over the world? How awesome would that be?

      1. Debby says:

        Even greater if the world was conquered by sour cream working in conjunction with baked potatoes and chives. It would be easy, really. A few baked potatoes would give all, and when we slipped into that carb-induced happy place, BAM! The world is conquered. And we mumble: “Hey…pass the carbs, man.”

  15. Slommler says:

    Now that is odd for sure…but you are safe and it worked out okay!  Hope they enjoyed their food!!??  Ha!

    1.  I hope so too. You’d think this would stop me from going to TB in the future. You would think. 😉

  16. Danny Marguerite says:

    So it seems you have the ‘nice and helpful person’ look ? God, if only she knew ! Luckily for the rest of us, she gave you some matter for another laughable post. Bless her. I ‘d really love to know why she didn’t do the purchase herself, did you get any reason or are you just like us ?

  17. Danny Marguerite says:

    So it seems you have the ‘nice and helpful person’ look ? God, if only she knew ! Luckily for the rest of us, she gave you some matter for another laughable post. Bless her. I ‘d really love to know why she didn’t do the purchase herself, did you get any reason or are you just like us ?

    1.  I just never think to ask these things, Danny. Maybe…I don’t want to know the answer. 🙂

  18. Blueyestm says:

    I haven’t been to Taco Bell in a while. What’s in a 5-layer beefy. Burrito anyways and I was curious as to why she didn’t drive thru either or walj thru for that fact because they used to do that when I managed Taco Bell years and years ago and we had no problem taking their orders that way.

    1.  I used to work at a Kentucky Fried Chicken and we would get the occasional car-less straggler as well. But if you’re not “following the rules” and drive a car through the drive thru, people will freak out.

  19. Nicky says:

    “Excuse me they’re closed inside but could you buy something for me I’ll give you the money you look like a nice person.”

    You were obviously not wearing your Megadeath sweatshirt. 🙂

    1.  Clearly. I wonder if I wore a monster mask. Cops don’t pull you over for that do they?

  20. scargosun says:

    I have to say, I am a little surprised this has never happened to me…

    1.  What planet, er I mean, town, do you live in that this has never happened to you???? Because I’m packing my bags.

  21. Nancy Lauzon says:

    Too funny! My first instinct is to run, too, in situations like that. 

    1.  I never said I was proud of that fact, but there you go. I’m just glad I’m not the only one. I wish I had some sort of radar so I could at least be nice to honest people.

  22. Hope g says:

    A little kindness goes a long way.

    1.  I know. I just wish I could have been a little more forthcoming with it.

  23. Pricilla says:

    @babs – but she said she thought she looked like a nice person! Does Margaret LOOK like someone who would be nefarious enough to drive off with someone’s 4 layer burrito monies?! With the four layer burrito perhaps, but NOT the monies!

    1.  Thank you, Pricilla, for coming to my defense. Yeah, I pretty much look like a librarian in a ten gallon hat that says, “I’m responsible!”.

  24. How strange. I would have been more nervous about you driving off with my money.  I think she was very trusting to hand hers over to two strangers.

    It’s sad that the world has become so full of scams and muggings, that we have to be suspicious of everyone. It’s self preservation, so don’t feel too bad 🙂

    1.  Actually, I said that too in the car (part of the 2 minute analyzation)…that I totally could have driven off with her food and/or money.

  25. Terra says:

    Oh my, your hubby was right, fodder for another blog post. It turned out fine all around and my guess is, that girl didn’t have a car, right?

    1.  Yeah, I think they were on foot because when we pulled away, they were walking down the street.