Papa Smurf Would Be Proud!


Several years ago my wife pulled up to the window of our local McDonald’s. The girl behind the counter smiled. She knew my wife loves to collect the latest “toy” that McDonald’s offers in their Happy Meals. My wife loves giving them to our granddaughters. The newest toy collection was tied in with the release of a major motion picture based on the 1980’s TV Series called the Smurfs. You don’t have to purchase a Happy Meal in order to get a toy. You can pay separately for the toy by asking. On this day the girl excitedly informed my wife that she had just sold a whole set of the Smurfs (12) to another lady and would she like to buy a set. My wife was deliriously happy and was more than willing to pay for the set of twelve. The girl took her money and then asked her to pull forward while she put the set together. A few minutes went by and the girl, with the set in hand, came out of the McDonald’s.  Accompanying her was the manager of the store. To make a long story short, the manager of the store chastised my wife for buying the entire set. She, the manager, explained rather forcefully and with much emotion, how upset she was that my wife had bought a set of the Smurfs.  She loudly exclaimed that she could get in trouble with “corporate” by selling her a full set.  She further exclaimed how important these “Smurfs” were to promoting her business. All the while the young girl who  had offered and sold the set to my wife, stood sheepishly in the background.

After  sufficiently castigating my wife, the manager dismissed her, like a schoolgirl, and ordered the worker to give up the precious Smurfs, since a “deal is a deal”. My wife took the five-minute verbal reprimand mostly because she was in a state of shock! One thing that I would like to point out is that my wife never “gave up” the young girl worker. She was woman enough to take the complete fall for the supposed illegal “Smurf” transaction!

My wife related this story to me when I got home from work.  By the end of her story I had a number of scenarios that I had worked out in my mind for retribution. One) I was  going back to the McDonald’s and purchase, when the manager wasn’t there, “all” the remaining Smurfs and hold them hostage. Another had me “burning”, (melting), all the Smurfs in the parking lot in protest of the mistreatment of my wife. Third) I was going to mail back the “valuable” Smurfs to corporate headquarters with a sarcastic letter explaining that I had no idea the selling of the set had possibly done irreparable damage to the economic stability of my local McDonald’s, and ask for forgiveness. I found out later that my wife had already given the set of Smurfs to my granddaughter so I never really had option two or three available. I decided on the fourth option which was to just write a letter of complaint to McDonald’s about the whole affair. I assume the manager would then have to make an accounting of why she choose to “chew out” a long time customer over a set of Smurfs that had been offered to her.

However, when I sat down to write the letter to Corporate. I decided I wouldn’t  be doing any of the above things in retribution. The more I have thought about it, the more I thought of how frustrating it must be to run a McDonald’s with the constant turnover of employees; most of which are young, inexperienced, and undependable. The thought came to me of how high your blood pressure much be if the “illegal” sale of a set of Smurfs will set you off.  I also know that I have always been taught to forgive. A couple of scriptures came to mind.

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14)

“…be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32)

I had seen that manager on a number of occasions prior to this incident. She is middle-aged and I’m sure she is a nice person. She was way out of line that day, but it happens to the best of us.  Perhaps that manager went home and rethought the whole situation and recognized that my wife had done nothing to merit the tongue lashing she received.  I thought that perhaps she might even apologize to my wife when she saw her again; but she didn’t.  However,  the next time I went through the line and I saw this manager, I  took the “fifth” and didn’t say or do anything but wish her a pleasant day. Because I knew that McDonald’s slogan of “you deserve a break today” was true.  And that forgiveness is the  right thing to practice! And that looking down, Papa Smurf would be proud!


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