It was my first week working at Chick-Fil-A, almost three years ago. A short, stout, elderly lady shuffled in and got in line at the front counter. "Uh oh, look who just walked in," said a fellow workmate. "Who?" I asked. "The coke lady," another workmate whispered. The two of them slowly began occupying themselves with other tasks so I would be the one who would have to help the dreaded customer.
The grumpy old woman ordered a medium coke and I began to fill her cup. She waved her hand and said, "No, get it from this one." She tapped the fountain that was on the complete other side of the counter! "This one tastes better," she finished. I thought to myself, They all come from the same box! But I complied and refilled her cup.
Later on that day I asked a little bit more about "The Coke Lady." Everyone described her as a miserably mean old wretch without a friend in the world. She lived alone and seemed to find her pleasure in giving the younger generation a hard time. She would comment to mothers about their misbehaving children and verbally abuse anyone who sat at "her booth" at Chick-Fil-A.
Curious, I decided to be a friend to her, instead of just a cashier. Over time she warmed up to me, then started sharing a little bit of her life story with me. I learned her name, greeted her with a big smile whenever she came, and started sitting at her booth with her and talking with her about dead-bolt locks, the restaurants in the mall, and the potholes in Oklahoma City roads.
As it turns out, she's not a mean old wretch after all. She's a very sweet lady, if you take the time to invest a little love into her. Many times the reason we have preconceived ideas about people is because we just haven't taken the time to get to know them. If there is someone you totally avoid just because you "get a bad vibe", let it go for five minutes and start a conversation with them! You might be surprised how quick you were to write someone off just because you didn't take the time to be a friend.