Recently my son and I stopped into our local Panera for lunch. Warm bread is one of my weaknesses and if I lived in France I'm sure I would have issues with all the fabulous bread and cheese there! Now back to the story....
If you've been in a Panera bakery, you may recall the little islands they all have that hold the sample bits of French bread, some oil to place in the miniscule plastic cups and various bits of information about their gift cards, menus and such. JJ and I had entered from the other side of the deli. We saw two gals at registers. One was helping someone and the other smiled at us. We quickly began walking toward her, scanning the menu to make our order.
As we stepped closer, a voice boomed from the island, "You know there is a line here." We turned, and saw one lone woman resting her elbows on the teeny-tiny counter. There was no one else around. "The line starts here. You must get in line." "Oh, sorry --- we saw the register open." Now the situation became stranger.
"I'm waiting in line. You must get behind me." We looked at the gal at the register who clearly was wondering what was going on. I said, "She looks ready to help you. Please go ahead." "No. She will call me up when she wants me to order. You should get in line behind me. There is a line here. The line always starts right here."
I guess my Oklahoma roots began to show....I said to all who might be near..."It seems you can go ahead to the counter." Standing between the woman and the register...."Are you ready for her?" I inquired. She nodded and smiled again, ready to take her order. One final time, just in case we hadn't heard her, she told us, "Just remember - there is a line here."
So after we had our turkey-artichoke sandwiches on warm focaccia with our Fuji apple chicken salad combos....of course we checked the line. There were a good fifteen people in between the island and the registers. I smiled to JJ, and we walked out, realizing we would always chuckle a bit when we returned.
I'm proud of my Oklahoma roots. Oklahomans have a strong drive to want to make things better and help as they can. And get there ..... Sooner.