Work the graveyard shift at a 24-hour Taco Bell for any length of time, and should you harbor any illusions about man as a sentient being, they will quickly be dispelled.
The title of this blog is a direct quote from Cliff – a gentle, soft-spoken, hygienically-challenged giant of a 19 year-old boy with a faint resemblance to Robert Smith of The Cure (for those of you who don’t remember the eighties click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Smith_(musician)), who occasionally worked drive-thru on the night shift. When he got bored, he would say whatever happened to spring to mind – directly into his headset.
Thus, on a slow night, you might be greeted with, Welcome to Taco Bell, may I lick your intestines?
Which was exactly the question posed to one middle-aged female customer, who, upon hearing what she perceived as a bizarre sexual request (albeit politely couched), fled the parking lot without placing an order. But not before she saw Cliff suggestively licking his palm as she sped by the drive-thru window.
While she was unable to collect herself enough to order, she did sufficiently recover from her emotional distress with enough faculties intact to call the restaurant, recount to me in detail the traumatic events, and inform me that she would never come back again. That is, until I offered her a free meal. Because it makes perfect sense to continue to patronize an establishment where previously you were propositioned by a disconcerting man-child wearing a headset and licking his extremities – simply because they offered you a complimentary Number Seven with a large drink.
And so it went.
Not that I could blame my night shift employees for the occasional lapse in judgement.
Since Taco Bell was the cheapest fast food and the only local restaurant opened after the bars closed – late night drive-thru customers tended towards the sketchy.
Sometimes drunk. Loud, demanding and obnoxious. And clearly bewildered that we didn’t find their “honest opinions” offered in regards to our career choices and job skills refreshing.
Sometimes stoned. Sweet and polite, but confused about why we couldn’t make them a Whopper with no onions.
Or looking to show us Big Jim and the Twins. Which I have to confess, I found somewhat flattering the first time it happened to me. But after that, not so much. Just tell me if you want hot or mild sauce and move along – you’re killing my speed of service times.
By the time the birds began chirping, and the morning sun illuminated the vomit outside the drive-thru window, my faith in humanity had a tendency to be shaken.
But no worries. Cliff would always offer to follow me home.