Djcnor’s Weblog

For Petra who works at MacDonalds

Posted on: November 27, 2008

Taking time out from my series on the importance of the arts to give some recognition to someone I met today.

I’m job hunting now, and it’s not a good atmosphere for it. I’ve been dreading the kind of job I might have to accept. When I stopped by MacDonalds today, I was feeling low.

I was using a coupon on the back of a bus ticket for a meal that included fries. Then I found out they didn’t have any ketchup. No ketchup? No true-bred sourthern American would eat fries without ketchup. The woman I asked about it suggested BBQ sauce, but I told her it just wasn’t the same.

I sat down grumbling, then noticed the KFC nextdoor in the food court and went over to ask if they would let me buy some. They gave me some. I sat down to enjoy my meal, including fries with ketchup.

The woman who had told me that MacDonalds was entirely out of it came by on her duties of cleaning the tables. I waved the packets and she noticed the KFC. “They gave them to you?” she said. She had an Eastern European accent.

I asked her where she came from and she said Czechoslovakia. She stopped for a moment in her rounds and we talked out the experience of living in Britain as a non-Brit. She was sunny and outgoing and very positive in the way she did her job, if not about her experience of Britain.

She had to move on, and I noticed her exchanging a few words at each table, sharing a laugh, brightening the day of each patron she interacted with. She was taking that lowly table-cleaning job and making it a joy for both her and the customers. Her name was Petra.

I admire Petra. If I do, in the end, find myself doing one of those jobs I’ve been dreading, I will think of her and try to find a way to make it a thing of joy for myself and those I end up interacting with.

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