When I was a little girl, going to McDonald's for a happy meal was one of my favorite things. Getting a happy meal was a big deal! It was a meal, especially prepared for me, with a prize/toy inside and happiness included? Oh Mr. Ronald McDonald, you have really outdone yourself sir. How could he have been so genius as to put a smile in a box, in the form of a cheeseburger, french fries, orange hi-c, and miniature figurine or beanie baby (do y'all remember how crazy people got about those?)??? GENIUS, I TELL YOU! GENIUS! At least to me, at the time, it was. Going to McDonald's to get a happy meal was something that I always looked forward to, however, I did not always get the experience I'd hoped for. The experience I hoped for was what I saw advertised, which generally included a smiling, happy-go-lucky McDonald's employee who was glad to put the "happy" in my happy meal. But often times what I actually got was no eye contact, no smiles, no "happy"...just a meal. This did not sit well with me, at all. I didn't even care about the food. My greatest concern was that the happy people that I saw in the commercials were not the happy people that I met in the drive-thru. I felt cheated...so...I decided to do something about. One day, I told my mom, "When I grow up, I am going to work at McDonald's, just so I can smile at every customer that comes through the drive-thru." I don't remember my mom's response, but I'm sure she was praying, "Dear Lord, please let her grow out of that." Well...I didn't. I didn't grow out of it. As a matter of fact, as soon as I was old enough to work, my first job was at McDonald's on Veteran's Parkway in Columbus, Ga. I was excited to have a job and proud to be working at McDonald's. It was time to make my dream come true!
I ended up working for McDonald's for a total of five years. I saw lots of Big Macs, sausage biscuits, apple pies, McFlurries, McChickens, and of course french fries. And I also saw lots of smiles. I hadn't forgotten my childhood disappointment that I had turned into a dream. Everyday that I worked, I put forth my best effort and shared all of the smiles and laughs that I could. As a matter of fact, I smiled so much, people would ask me why I worked there, and I would tell them, "because I always wanted to make people smile in the drive-thru." I was very proud of my job- I was happy to put the "happy" in someone's happy meal. Such a seemingly small gesture, but you'd be surprised what a smile can do in the fast-paced, demanding world of fast food.
On days that my dreams seem a little questionable or far fetched and I find myself pondering my purpose, I take myself back to McDonald's. I remember that, as a child, I saw a problem and I set a goal to be the change I wanted to see, and in due time, I reached that goal.
As I reminisce on my childhood McDonald's dream, I am reminded that my dreams and goals are totally attainable...no matter how big, small, far-fetched, or uncanny. If you want to see change, be change.