Sometimes Tart

If The Food Doesn’t Kill You, The Parking Lot Will

This morning, after I dropped Sean off at school, I pulled into the McDonald’s drive-through for a cup of coffee to fuel my daily adventures in wallpaper scraping. 

This is one of those McDonald’s where the drive-through wraps around the building so that as you exit the building, you have to pass not only in front of the cars in the drive-through but you also then have to cross a small parking lot where other cars are bypassing the drive-through and yet other cars are backing out.  I find this set up to be especially precarious as on more than one occasion I have nearly been run over as I exited the building by someone in a McHurry. 

It would be somewhat less of a problem if people would just drive sensibly and drive 5mph through the parking lot, but I know this is America and driving sensibly probably interferes with your individuality. However, if you are one of those people who barrels through the McDonald’s parking lot while yacking it up on your cell phone, be aware that there is always a good chance that a) a toddler has wrenched away from her mother’s grasp and is darting across the parking lot or b) someone in an enormous SUV is backing out and can’t see you. It’s a tragedy just waiting to happen. 

Such was the case this morning.  Today, as I was waiting in the drive-through line, I saw this elderly couple shuffling out of the building, linked arm-in-arm, holding each other upright.  Before they passed in front of my car, the gentleman caught my eye to make sure I wasn’t going run them over. I gave them the go ahead sign, he saluted and off they shuffled.  Just as they passed in front of me and were about to step into the parking lot, a sporty little car came zipping past and nearly ran them over. 

I gasped and put my hands to my face afraid of what I might find when I opened my eyes.  By the grace of God, their reflexes were miraculously quicker than their gait and they stepped back just as the car whizzed past and pulled into a parking space. 

I was really angry. I did not need that kind of adrenaline surge before I had my coffee.  As I waited for zippy car driver to get out and head towards the building, I rehearsed my mom lecture. I was ready to roll down my window and bring the matter to their attention in no uncertain terms. 

But zippy car driver turned out not to be a young person but a spry elderly woman.  And somehow a mom lecture didn’t seem right. 

Because I couldn’t think of anything else to do, I just shook my head at her instead as she passed in front of my car, but she didn’t look my way.

44 thoughts on “If The Food Doesn’t Kill You, The Parking Lot Will

  1. TY for this…I am usually the mom whos kid has broken free…I hate hate hate our mc d’s lot. It is narrower than most and i have seen more wrecks there….i have actually started trying to park on the drive thru side because since they added the double lane thingy they have to slow down to come around the building

  2. It would do Mickey D’s some good to consult a civil engineer the next time they put up those Arches…..ours up here are just as dangerous. Hope you’re now enjoying your coffee and wallpaper remnants in peace.

  3. It’s always a great day when you feel like an ineffective failure and your heart is racing and you haven’t even had coffee yet. And you’re headed home to scrape wallpaper. Oh the glamour.

  4. Must have been Seniors Eat Free day because the place was crawling with old folks. And let me tell you, some of those old people are kind of agressive. So much for the notion of the sweet little old lady. That’s the real reason I didn’t roll down my window – I didn’t want to get whacked with a cane.

  5. We have the same problem at all of our area McD’s. I’m amazed that they’ve been sued for hot coffee and not for someone getting killed in the parking lot.

  6. Oh, our McD’s is about the same. As far as the elderly, I think at our McD’s, they get free coffee in the morning so this is the gathering place. Kind of like the little old men that used to sit in front of the stores and play checkers all day. Aahh, but old people are hilarious. Reminds me of a funny story about my Mama, a broom, and a grandson who totalled ticked her off over Dale Earnhart. She idolized Dale. 🙂

  7. The zippy-car driver may not have needed a mom lecture, but she definitely needed to hear some kind of lecture. Just because she was older than you doesn’t excuse her reckless driving. But thankfully that couple did catch themselves before they went into the parking lot.

  8. Praise God those poor little old people survived the incident! Our McD’s is the same way and it is too dangerous!!!

    You made me laugh – I can just picture you wanting to give a stern talking to and then the realization . . . it is an elderly woman!

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Ah, yes…I know the feeling. I was in the same set up once, stopping for an older couple to cross the parking lot, when another car came from behind me, passing on my left. Passing on the left? The male driver nearly took out the couple then angrily glared at them and shook his fist. I wanted to punch him in the nose.

  10. This parking lot dare devil driving is only something that I have encountered while living in Texas. Everywhere else I’ve been scary parking lot drivers are the exception rather than the rule (even in Southern California). I’m quite astonished by the lack of common sense I’ve seen exhibited in parking lots here. There seems to be no pedestrian right of way or courtesy to other drivers. It’s very weird.

    My husband and I joke that if we are feeling the need for a bit of an adrenalin rush we should go drive around in a parking lot.

  11. Well, not to be a Negative Nelly, but if those folks had been at the casino where they belonged, they could have dined on a complimentary mediocre breakfast buffet and had their car valet-parked. Or so I’ve heard. Ahem.

  12. I like the “McHurry”!
    I so agree with you with speeding in a parking lot. I get so annoyed at times and will never understand what is wrong with people speeding in a parking lot.

    Great post as usual!

  13. Maybe Death isn’t a guy in a black cloak with a sickle after all. Maybe Death is a cranky old lady in a zippy car. Looks like she missed her quota yesterday.

  14. Now Shelley don’t go diss’ing Texas. A lot of people you see driving here in Texas are people from California who came here to buy a house bigger than a postage stamp. (wink wink)

  15. Your story today brought a giant lump back to my throat. I think almost all Mc D’s have this same, poorly planned out drive and ours is no exception. Unfortunately, horrid drivers are also common here. On a very unforgettable trip to the drive-thru, we were forced to an early stop because a man was laying in the drive holding his motionless toddler by his side. You know what had happened…at the time I was only 15 (no kids yet, obviously,to give you that “mom-feeling” but my mom, who is also an antique mommy, was pregnant at 44 with my sister at the time and I’d never seen someone turn white right in front of me before that day. There is so much room for improvement in our conduct…..sigh, lump slowly fading….

    BTW I’ve only recently come across your blog, but am blown away by your ability to have me nodding along, crying and laughing almost every day. Thank you.

  16. Scary parking lot drivers are plentiful here in Ohio, and I have a hard time believing they would not be not found in all 50 states.
    And the way drive-throughs are set up is just an accident waiting to happen.

  17. If it’s not a kid careening forth on a bike, it’s an old lady/man who appears to be mostly knuckles behind the wheel.

    Sigh…I guess I need to slow my own McHurry and give a little McGrace since I was the former and, I fear, am racing quicker than I’d like towards the latter.

    Thanks for the McReminder. 🙂

  18. That’s the kind of story I often come home and tell my hubby. His response is always, “Well, did you say something?”. My response is usually, “No, but I thought it really, really hard!”.

  19. I think you should have given the mom lecture anyway, calling her “my child.” Why not? If you don’t learn to do it now, how will you do it when you’re older?

  20. We are having a similar day. This morning while waiting in the drop-off line at my child’s school, an impatient mom pulled out of line and in front of a car that hadn’t pulled up quickly enough. Two kids had to jump out of her way. Is it really that important? So what if her kids (or mine) were late for school? Who will care in five years (or five minutes?) I think in America hurry is a habit rather than a need. We just hate to wait, ever, for any reason, including legitimate reasons. Now my quandary is whether to confront this mom or write a note to the principal or just drop it.

  21. I’m in the process of scraping wallpaper also. I’ve recruited my hubby to help with the painting. Ugh! Now I know why painters charge so much for this type of work!

  22. Oy vey! My son ran away from me in the church parking lot yesterday before Mom’s Bible study and one of the other moms almost hit him. Talk about a heart attack for both of us!
    Then afterwards some of us went to McD’s for lunch to let our kids play and there was a fight, people jumping over the counter to get to the employees and everything. Crazy times!

  23. You should have rolled your window down and asked her to give you two good reasons why you should not report her license number to the police. If you can get Sean to reason, perhaps you could get a golden oldie to do likewise.

  24. McDonalds. Hmmm. Weren’t they the people sued for the too hot coffee? Looks like they didn’t learn from that long and tiring lawsuit. Next up: parking lot liability. Crazy parking lots near the huge children’s playscapes they inevitably build. Nope. Doesn’t make sense to me, either.
    (But the new coffee IS good…)

  25. I actually think it neeeds to be a law that people stopped at the drive thru window, must put their car in park. In my town, last year a mother was killed in front of her 4 year old daughter and the mother’s twin sister, by a driver who was waiting at the window and stepped on the gas, rather than the brake.

  26. Delurking to thank you for reminding people that a parking lot is not the place to drive like a psycho-lunatic nin-wad! My sister-in-law’s boss lost her toddler to an accident in the McDonald’s parking lot nearly 2 years ago. I have a toddler and I HATE walking to the door of any store/restaurant with him because I never know what kind of jack-a$$ is going to come barreling through the parking lot. These types of accidents can be avoided!

  27. I feel like that in some school zones (the ones where lots of kids walk to school) as well. I stay under 35, which is still 10 mph over the limit, with people getting all angry behind me at my slowness – then they turn into the school parking lot! You’d think people with actual children attending that school would be more concerned about speedy drivers than I am. Apparently not.

  28. My 80 year old father in law is the most horrible speed-demon-road-rager out there. It seriously terrifies me that he will kill somebody one day. I guess when you get that old, getting to where you are going takes on a new urgency.

    I’m glad the elderly couple was all right!!

  29. Driving fast in a place like that infuriates me. I’d like to take every speeding driver to spend a day with my brain-injured brother at his neuro care home. He was hit 12 years ago this month by a speeding car, and has not walked, eaten, or spoken since.

    People are too self-absorbed and inconsiderate anymore. Apparently, that can even apply to the elderly themselves.

  30. My brother and I were involved in an accident at a McDonalds in Irving, TX. A man came in the backside entry of the McDonalds parking lot (against the drive through traffic) and the McDonalds had no protection for their drive through customers. The man broad sided us while we were ordering. We never saw him coming. So far my brother had to have two neck surgeries and I had one with two more minimum I need to have.

    The McDonalds had protection (poles) around their building, their signs, and their their light poles, so they were more then aware of the possibility of an accident happening, but offered nothing to protect their drive through customers.

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