He eyed up the clock and saw that there was less than one minute to go. It would soon be midnight, meaning his McDonald’s shift would end and he would be meeting his friends for the ‘party of the century’. Just as he was taking his apron off, he heard a stray ‘excuse me’ from the counter.
He knew whose voice it was and his blood boiled. This was a step too far. It was time to get revenge.
Will Birn was like most 18-year-olds, happy to have graduated high school but not so sure about what was coming next. College wasn’t for Will. At least, not yet. He had his fill of academia for the time being. Now he wanted to enjoy his freedom.
But there were compromises to be made for such freedom. He needed cash and to get it he needed a job.
He applied for a lot of jobs, both in person and online, but Will didn’t have many leads. Seeing what companies got back in touch was a nervous wait for Will. An added pressure was the apparent flourishing of his friends, who now either had university or jobs of their own.
He checked his inbox again: No replies. Will was feeling desperate. He submitted so many applications, casting the net far and wide. How could he have no replies? He was about to call it a night when his phone pinged. An email. A job offer. A last resort maybe. But Will was going to take it.
Shortly after getting the email from McDonald’s, Will was being trained in among the staff. While nobody dreams of working at McDonald’s when they grow up, Will came to respect the job and its difficulty. He also found new friends in his coworkers, many of whom were his age.
However, Will soon found out that it wasn’t all fun and games there. There was always someone to spoil a good time.
Not every customer said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, and Will understood this. He didn’t expect anyone to curtsy after ordering a Big Mac. All that he wanted was for a courteous exchange. Unfortunately, this was beyond some customers, especially one particular customer.
But this wasn’t a stranger. No, the worst thing about this customer was that Will knew him
Will always found it awkward when he had to serve someone he knew. He usually got through it with a smile and a joke. Yet this guy wasn’t going to make it that easy. Will knew him from high school. He was a couple of years older and looked older than his age.
Will didn’t like him. He knew that he was a bully and when he tried to acknowledge that they knew each other, the guy left him hanging. Then he said: ‘Can you get me a McLoser Sandwich and fries?’ Will was being watched by his supervisor so he had to keep his cool. He said they didn’t serve those sandwiches, to which the bully replied: ‘Huh, I could have sworn they did when I saw you at the counter.’
Will suppressed the urge to dive over the counter. He got through the exchange when a coworker came to his rescue. It was a humiliating experience but the support his coworkers reminded him that it wasn’t so bad. Plus, he was making money now.
That was what kept him going. Then, a girl he worked with named Vanessa pulled him aside.
Will and Vanessa had become close since he starting working in McDonald’s. She had shown him the ropes and he felt as though he could vent to her about any frustrations he was having. ‘You get me,’ he would tell her. He was just waiting for the chance to hang out with her outside.
When she pulled him aside, Vanessa told Will about a party her friend was having this weekend. She called it ‘the party of the century’ and suggested that Will should come before walking away with a smile. Will was thrilled – this was finally his chance. Or so he thought.
Will was thinking about asking Vanessa if she wanted to go to the party together when his supervisor asked for a favour. His coworker Ethan had called in sick for his Saturday night shift. They were short a man and needed someone to step up. Will knew he could follow Vanessa to the party so reluctantly said he would do it.
It was a quiet night, all things considered, and Will was getting into the party mood in work, playing fun songs over the speakers. Then, with a minute to go, the tranquillity of a closing McDonald’s was interrupted when a customer bullishly walked up to the counter.
As soon as Will heard the voice, he knew. It could only be one guy: The bully. It was as though he knew that Will was about to go and he wanted to inconvenience him. All bullies seemed to love inconveniencing people. Will swallowed his rage and allowed his coworker to take the order.
He stayed behind to prepare the food. It was time to serve up a sweet slice of revenge.
Will would usually make a burger to the professional standard expected of him. At this moment, those standards went into freefall. Perhaps it was the way that the bully had picked on him. Perhaps it was the party mood causing him to cut loose. Whatever it was, he was going rogue.
Instead of making the burger with love and care, he slammed the buns down on his work station. He proceeded to then drown the buns in mayonnaise before flinging lettuce on top in a careless fashion. The cheese he threw didn’t even hit the burger, flapping instead on the outside of the box. He finished by whacking the meat down, closing the box hurriedly and sliding it down to be served. Grub’s up, bully.
Before the coworker handed the bully his food, Will called out. ‘Wait!’ But he wasn’t getting a change of heart – he simply wanted to hand it to the bully himself. He took the burger box, which was now wrapped in a piece of McDonald’s paper, and wished him a good night.
The bully was dumbstruck. This wasn’t how he intended for things to go down. He stumbled out wondering what just happened. Will had to fight hard to contain his laughter. Then, as soon as the bully walked out, Will ran over to the door to lock it. He had a party to catch.
Everyone noticed Will’s good mood when he got to the party. It felt as though people were gravitating towards him, picking up on the positive aura he carried. He was in a fit of laughter after sharing a joke with Vanessa and decided to ask if he could show her something.
She said sure and Will took out his phone. ‘I recorded this video earlier,’ he said, proceeding to show her a recording of the burger he had made before closing. Vanessa thought he was a legend for getting back at that bully and she knew what he should do with the video.
TikTok was a huge social media platform among Will’s peer group and this kind of content could go viral. It was both relatable and funny. At Vanessa’s insistence, Will decided to create an account and captioned the video: ‘When someone orders two minutes before you close’.
Sure enough, the video went viral and Will was internet famous. But, as you can imagine, not everyone enjoyed his video.
While the majority of the people who watched the video saw the funny side, there was a minority who were appalled by it. They thought that it constituted poor customer service and demanded that poor Will get fired from his job. However, their demands weren’t met.
Will appeased their fury by posting: “Just a joke, I promise.” Regardless of how it went down, customers will say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in future.