Happy to help — and get free fries

A financial planner on the radio said we should all patronize our favorite restaurants now, because in two months they’ll probably be out of business. I asked the husband what his favorite restaurant was.

“Mama Carolla’s,” he said.

I pointed out we had not been to that wonderful little Italian place in years. If the restaurant industry depended on us to keep them afloat, they all would have gone under long before Covid-19.

Still, having seen business after business in our area paper over the windows and now sit empty, we noted three restaurants to visit in hopes of helping them stay put. Two are small breakfast spots we can walk to and the third is a few miles down the road, part of a burger and shake chain the grandkids love.

Priorities mandate our first visit be to the burger place. We pull into the drive-thru line and see a big sign on the window: “Free Fries with Every Burger (Per Person).”

This is exciting to the husband who loves a special. He orders two burgers, two fries and drinks. The voice in the box announces the total, then instructs us to pull forward.

The husband hands over the credit card at the window. He says the total sounded high and asks if we got the free fries.

The young lady says, “Did you ask for free fries? You have to ask for them.”

He said he didn’t know you had to ask for them. A second lady joins the first lady at the window and says, “You have to ask for the free fries.”

Again, he says he didn’t know that.

The ladies close the window, eyeball the receipt and start pushing buttons on the cash register.

I tell the husband the point in coming was to support the business, not get free fries. He says the point is the sign says free fries. I restate my point; he restates his point. And so another happily married couple is jabbing one another with sharp points.

I then suggest he tap on the window and tell them we are happy to pay for the free fries.

He says his arm won’t reach.

Meanwhile, the ladies inside are hammering the cash register with new intensity.

Finally, the younger lady opens the window and says they adjusted the bill. I lean into view and say we only came to buy lunch in hopes they don’t go out of business and lose their jobs.

She flashes a big smile, tosses back her head and says, “I’m not going anywhere!”

We pull around front and a few minutes later someone brings out our food. We open the bag and discover the burgers are doubles. I don’t know that I’ve ever eaten an entire double burger, but I ate every bite of this one and it was good.

The double burgers might have been an accident, or they might have been deliberate because they were glad others are rooting for them.

Considering the free fries, it was probably a wash for the burger place financially, but we’ll make it right. We’ll load up two vehicles and go back with grandkids.

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