Most of you know that I love Chick Fil A. I’m fairly certain that I could eat it every day of my life and never get tired of it. I tested that theory during my first year of seminary, and even after eating it so often that the employees of the Hulen Mall Chick Fil A could go ahead and start bagging up a chargrilled chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and a Diet Dr. Pepper when they saw me coming, I still wasn’t tired of it. Oh, how I love you, Chick Fil A!
When we moved back from Japan, I was so thrilled that there was a Chick Fil A within a forty mile radius of our new town. After being half a world away, that didn’t seem like too far to drive. Still, though, I wondered how awesome it would be to have a Chick Fil A in Duncan. I didn’t have to wonder for long because the word came this summer that we were getting a Chick Fil A in our hospital cafeteria. The approximate distance from my front door to the counter of this Chick Fil A? One mile. Bliss!
Today was the grand opening. I loaded the girls up in the car at 10:30 so as to be there when they opened the doors at 11:00, and Wes was waiting for us when we arrived. The girls were able to meet the Chick Fil A cow (Em was terrified, Ana was thrilled), were given cow toys, and got great seats for the grand opening. It began at 11:00 with speeches… and by 11:15, Wes was whispering to me that he had to get to a meeting across town. Could I handle both girls by myself? No problem! There wasn’t a big crowd there, just hospital people. Surely I could handle this, right?
Well, the opening ceremonies finally wrapped up around 11:45. The girls had been great, sitting quietly in such a small space for so long. Which means that when we got up to go and get our food, they went bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-Annas! I resolved to be the first in line to get my food and get out and was shocked to see that people had been coming in from another entrance and that we were, like, eight hundredth in line. Seriously!
I got in line behind two twentysomething gentleman who were clearly seven feet tall each, which made it impossible for them to see teensy tiny Emma who kept throwing her cow at their feet and laughing uproariously at herself for some unknown reason. After correcting her several times and watching these clueless young men nearly step on her even more times, I had to take the cow away and pick her up. This wasn’t how Emma wanted to spend her time in line, but after fighting to get down for a few minutes, she gave up and settled for picking things out of my purse from her perch on my hip. Ana, meanwhile, was twirling around, dancing, and periodically pulling on her pants, which kept falling off her tiny hips, showing the big wide world the tops of her Snow White panties. Which she pointed to and called by name in a loud voice every time — “SNOW WHITE PANTIES! LOOK, MOMMY! SNOW WHITE PANTIES!” We finally got to the front of the line and ordered, and they gave me my drink which rendered one of my hands useless. As I was getting Ana to hold my free hand, Emma pulled the straw out of my Coke, splashing my face and hair in the process. Fabulous. We stood against the wall and waited. We sat on the floor and waited. And there towards the end, we held our breaths and huddled together as every inch of floor space in the Chick Fil A filled with people waiting on their orders. It was super crowded, y’all! They mercifully called my number before the girls literally started climbing the walls (they were climbing everything else, so the walls were the next logical choice), and in my exuberance to get my food and get out, I didn’t see Ana run right smack into the corner of the counter. She immediately began screaming, though. Have you ever heard the “swoosh” of every head in a crowded room turning to look at you? Well, that was the sound that accompanied Ana’s, “MY EYE! MY EYE!” Emma helped matters along immensely by whimpering, “Cow, cow, cow,” either because she was missing her confiscated toy cow or because the giant cow she was terrified of was now on his lunch break and making his way to the counter. Oh, the insanity! EYE! Cow! EYE! Cow! Tears everywhere, with no end in sight. I finally told Ana, “I know, I know — I want to cry, too!”
Fortunately, one of the gentlemen from our church was in line, and he came up, along with several other kind people waiting on their food, to offer me help. He held my food while I checked and confirmed that Ana’s eye was still where it should be, as a high school student showed me where she had seen Ana run into the counter. I pulled Ana into my arms, grabbed my food, grabbed Em’s hand, and we marched out of the Chick Fil A, absolutely humiliated.
I got both girls to sit down in the lobby so that I could check out Ana’s eye again, and she proudly proclaimed, “My boo boo ALL better, Mommy!” I had half a mind to send her back in there and tell everyone, “I’m not maimed, abused, or neglected! My mother is competent!,” but I refrained. As I was gathering up my purse and my food, a woman from the opening ceremonies came up. She’s the Lawton franchise owner and seemed to take pity on me, telling me that it was raining outside and that she’d walk us out to our car with an umbrella if it would help. (Maybe it had nothing to do with pity. Maybe our shenanigans were hurting business, and she just wanted us to leave!) I briefly considered telling her that free chargrilled sandwiches would be of an immense help to me, but again, I refrained. (For those who were wondering, this particular Chick Fil A, likely because it was inside another business, didn’t do the free sandwiches for a year giveaway. Oh, well.) I thanked her but said we would wait until it let up. The rain stopped a few minutes later, and we made our way out to the car. About halfway to our car, it began pouring. Of course. Ana, ever mindful of her thin, stringy hair, kept shouting, “My hairs getting wet! My HAIRS!!!” Emma, who has fabulous thick hair that looks great no matter what, was more concerned with jumping in every puddle en route to the car. Sigh. I finally got everyone in the car, buckled them in, and put my Chick Fil A bag in the passenger seat next to me. We were headed home, two hours after we had arrived. Wow.
After we let the dog in and sat down for lunch, I opened the bag to discover that they had given me the wrong sandwich. I ordered chargrilled, and they gave me the original. And do you know what I did with this surprise sandwich? I ate it. A chicken sandwich is a chicken sandwich, preference and calorie amounts aside, and I sure wasn’t going to go back up there and relive any of the experience for such an insignificant reason.
So, was it worth it? Going up there early, sitting through the speeches with two tots, waiting through the line, nearly maiming one of my children in front of half the town, getting soaked in the pouring rain, and ending up with the wrong sandwich? Was it worth it?
Absolutely. I LOVE CHICK FIL A! Thank you, Duncan Regional Hospital, for bringing Chick Fil A to me!