Drive-thru rage and the shame of it all

drvie thru
The scene of the crime

I’ve recently discovered that I’ve operated under a false image of who I am. I assumed as a follower of Christ, I would always turn the other cheek.

Turns out that the real me came out in a Starbucks drive-thru here in OKC.  My wonderful self-image was destroyed when I got behind the wheel.

I’ll set the stage.

My wife and I, along with our 2-year grandson, were heading out to Dallas for a brief getaway for a couple days.  I wanted a cup of coffee before hitting the highway. So we drove to a local Starbucks, which had quite a line of cars in the drive-thru.

The line went all the way out to the parking lot of the shopping center in which it is located, so I put my blinker on and waited my turn, leaving room for other cars in the busy lot to pass on my left.

I was waiting patiently to pull into the drive-thru when a small car rushed by me on the left and wheeled into the drive-thru. I was beyond incensed.

Before I realized it, I jumped out of my car and raced over to the line-cutter’s car and rapped hard on his window.

All the while, my wife was pleading with me to come back to our car.

The young man rolled down his window, and I started screaming: “What are you doing?! Couldn’t you see I was sitting there with my blinker on waiting to pull into the line?” The guy responded: “how was I supposed to know?’  I screamed again that he should have seen the blinker, and then he said “I’m leaving.”

He quickly backed out and left the lot. I went back to my car. My wife said I was lucky he didn’t jump out and punch me.

Suddenly, my righteous indignation gave way to an incredible sense of shame. What had I done?

I was the old man screaming ‘get off my lawn!’

michelle millben
Michelle Millben

About two days later, I saw a post on Facebook from Michelle Millben, an Oklahoma native who lives in Virginia. Michelle is an incredible public speaker whom I heard a few years back at the Oklahoma WISE Conference, and have followed her posts ever since.

Anyway, Michelle told a story about playing peacemaker for a couple of guys who were about to come to blows at the gas pumps of a service station.

She saw what was happening and approached the pair, speaking in a calming voice.

I admire the way that Michelle diffused the situation and played the peacemaker for people she didn’t even know.

As for me, the only way is up from the depths of my behavior. Michelle’s post and my crazy rant have really helped me to reassess my own demeanor.

I hope I can be the peacemaker in the future, and not the old ‘get-off-my-lawn’ guy who hangs his head in shame today.