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The Burger King Pie Eater
This week I read a story, originally posted to reddit, where a guy claims to have bought all the pies at Burger King because he was tired of the kid behind him in line whining about wanting a pie and, as reported by the original poster, cursing about it as well.
Apparently the line at the fast food joint was long and impatience in general was growing all around. The original poster indicated that the restaurant had one trainee on the cash register working during what sounded like a busy time of day.
You could almost feel the tension.
He asked the mother to please make her kid be quiet and she responded in anger and told him to mind his own business.
He even noted that after buying all the pies, which he says consisted of 23 of them, he took a bite out of one in front of the angry mother.
The story went viral with reposts on social media and long threads congratulating him on letting that bratty kid have it.
While some speculated whether or not the story was real, exaggerated, or completely made up, the point remains that most people were very happy that he did this---that he bought the pies out of spite and anger and went away feeling proud of himself because he had one-upped a kid.
What's The Real Story?
So besides the fact that it's rather petty for an adult to exact revenge on a child, the truth is the original poster seemed to think he knew and understood the story. He knew that this child was a Veruca Salt level, self-entitled brat and since his mom was obviously a failure as a parent, he was going to have to manfully step in and teach that brat a lesson.
But the truth is he didn't know her.
He didn't know her kid.
He didn't know her situation.
Instead he snap judged and made a decision that likely made the kid's and the mom's day even worse and did nothing for himself but vindictively gain a bunch of extra calories in the form of 23 fast food pies.
Mile In Their Moccasins
So working on the assumption that the story is true (which it may not be or it may be exaggerated) let's break down the possible reasons why the kid might have been acting the way he was.
For one, why was the kid cursing, loudly, to his mother? Could he have a condition that does not allow an internal censor that most of us have? Tourette's? Autism? Could he be using the word to shock his mom and she's trying to not react and thus reinforce the action?
The truth is that we don't know.
Why was he whining about pie? This is another piece to the story that we don't know. The poster admitted the line was long and slow. Most kids don't do well with unexpected lines or delays, especially when they are tired, hungry, or not expecting it.
Compound that with a kid that might possibly have an issue--psychological, neural, health--and you have a situation that's annoying for adults but might be impossible for this kid.
I'm not diagnosing this kid. I don't know this kid other than the brief description through the eyes of a guy that was already annoyed with him. But sometimes issues and hardships are not visible.
What's going on his life?
What's going on in his mother's life?
A Kind Word Turns Away Wrath
The truth is that we don't know any of this. To make the worst assumptions about someone often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What if instead of turning around and snapping at the mother he had offered a kind word? "Gee this line really is slow today isn't it?" instead of making her stress worse by calling her out on it.
What if instead of buying up the pies for himself, he instead bought a pie and turned around as he was leaving and handed it to the mother and said "I hope your guys' day gets better."
It's really easy to judge when you're not in the situation, when you don't know the truth and when you assume only the worse. You leave no room for sympathy or kindness.
The Kindness of Strangers
As a mom, even if your kids face no extra issues such as autism or another disability, you sometimes find yourself in situations where you become the target of judgment by strangers who don't understand you and have made a snap and unkind assessment.
I remember, still vividly, a moment that happened to me in line at the post office. I had just had a new baby and my other child was a toddler. I was exhausted, mentally and physically, but I had to conduct some business with the post office.
I was standing in a long line with my baby in a carrier on my chest and my toddler walking in circles around my leg. He was not making noise nor was he bothering anyone else.
An older man came by and looked at me and said "That boy needs to learn how to be still and he needs a haircut" and then he walked off.
I was so shocked I didn't even have time to respond. And in my own tired and disoriented state I nearly burst into tears right there but was able to hold it together until I got to the car. It was all I could do to make it through each day and I was trying so hard. Instead of stopping for 5 seconds and thinking---"that baby is not more than a few weeks old and the other one is pretty young too--she must have her hands full"----he made a snap judgment that to this day I recall vividly.
How different a word of support or understanding would have been for me that day rather than a flippant comment that really took no consideration of me or the situation.
Take A Moment and Breathe
The truth is there are usually enough clues there that, if you're observant, you can figure out what is actually going on.
I have friends who have kids with developmental difficulties whose kids look "normal" on the outside and so people judge harshly when he or she acts in what we would consider inappropriate ways.
But when you interact with the family, you begin to understand the challenges that they face and how something simple, like getting them a treat, such as a slice of pie, after a hard day (or an accomplishment) can be taxing because of unexpected situations (such as a long line that isn't moving) or because they don't deal well with external stimuli.
Even a Fish....
I realize that we live in a world that is increasingly stressed, angry, and cynical. I get that. But does it have to be that way or do we perpetuate it with our unkindness?
The truth is that we could all be a littler kinder, a little more patient, a little more tolerant, and a little more understanding.
When I was growing up my mother always said to me: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." And I try to remember that.
So if you absolutely can't think of anything nice to say, a word of sympathy, a way to make a bad situation a little better ("you've got your hands full, don't you") you could at least not say anything.
As the old saying goes: Even a fish wouldn't get in trouble if he kept his mouth shut.
Original Story About The Pies
- Am I a bad person for this? : offmychest
So a while ago I had decided to treat myself and go to Burger King. I hadn't had the greatest of days and I had a headache coming on. It was a very lo...
© 2014 L C David