The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


July 27, 2013

Cheerio, mate: It’s a drive-thru, not a ride-thru

The Back Porch

The women who worked at the bank across the sidewalk from the women who worked at the insurance agency kept a scorecard of pranks.

I worked at the insurance agency early in my job life. As now, I was gullible, having been blessed enough to grow up in an environment where I could trust that the adults in my life told me the truth.

One day, the phone rang. The caller on the other end sounded like a hick who had just come out of the woods after going in sometime during the Richard Nixon administration.

“Kin you git car insurance if you don’t have a car?” she wanted to know.

I answered as seriously as I knew how. “What would be the point?”

The caller continued on for a few seconds until she broke into laughter. The guffaws filled my ears. It was one of the women from the bank on a prank.

It was my turn to answer. Not to be outdone, I plotted with my co-workers on how to return the favor. At the end of each business day, one of us took the deposits to the bank. I volunteered.

I dashed across the sidewalk into the drive-thru lane, moneybag in hand. The prankster was working the drive-thru.

“Can you go through the drive-thru if you don’t have a car?” I asked when she turned around.

We shared a laugh, and she took the money.

For a woman and her daughter at a McDonalds in Whitefield, England, it wasn’t funny. They were denied service after they rode on horseback into the drive-thru lane and placed their orders. They were told to come into the restaurant.

Mother and daughter dismounted and led their steeds into the restaurant probably thinking, “Horse hockey!” Minnie, the daughter’s mount, promptly complied, the customers were grossed out, the police were called and the mother was fined.

Christine McGrall told the London Daily Mail that she and Olivia had been served before when they rode through the drive-thru. She added that Minnie is partial to McFlurrys.

When restaurant staff told them to come inside, they brought their horses.

“Hi ho, Silver!” cost her some silver, and it likely wasn’t the best decision she ever made.

However, when did McDonalds become so snooty? This is a multinational corporation that has no qualms about selling sugar- and fat-laden food to low-income people around the world, but employees can’t hand a Happy Meal through the window to someone on horseback?

My first thought was maybe they were afraid the horse would recognize a relative in the paper sack.

However, the Daily Mail quoted a McDonalds spokeswoman as saying, “The health and safety of our customers and staff is our top priority and for this reason we are unable to serve pedestrians, bicycle riders or customers on horseback through the drive-thru.” The company said the no-serve policy is due to a fear of horses being spooked by cars.

How was the health and safety of anyone compromised by horses using the drive-thru? If employees had promptly served the foursome, Minnie would have been down the road when nature called. That argument doesn’t hold water if the women were told to come inside and leave their horses in the parking lot.

It’s easy to pick on McDonalds because it’s out front. That means everyone is gunning for its behind. The woman who sued because she got scalded by hot coffee and the teen who sued because she got fat from eating Mickey D’s food were silly and deserved what happened to them.

This time, though, the criticism is fair. What if an Amish family came though in a buggy? They could have a legitimate case to sue for religious discrimination.

McDonalds needs to lighten up, pardon the pun, and serve its customers if it wants to hold onto them. That includes the four-legged ones. In case Ronald hasn’t been watching the news, it’s a tough economy out there, and that red lipstick don’t come cheap.

— Young is a Register-Herald columnist. E-mail:

© 2013 by Nerissa Young


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