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The Courage To Hand Out Hamburgers

I’ve long thought that the people who work the fast-food drive-through windows are superheroes. They have to take an order at the same time they’re delivering another order and making change. If I hadn’t seen it a thousand times, I’d swear it was humanly impossible. I think it takes a lot of gumption to take up that kind of juggling at all.

There are a examples everywhere of such everyday courage. Flipping through an old Sun magazine last night, I ran across an essay about the kind of emotional fuel such work requires.

From “They Always Call You ‘Miss'” by Alison Clement:

“There’s more to waiting tables than you might think. It takes courage, for one thing. You walk up to a table, and everyone turns to look at you, as if you’re about to deliver the opening line of a play….You have to act as if you know what you’re doing and everything is going according to a plan….You have to remember: Gin and tonic to table 8; man at 12 is late for a meeting; nut allergy on 5. You have to remember it all and not get overwhelmed.”

If I start to feel down on human nature, I think about the ordinary things that people muster the courage to do every day.

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