Recently, I headed out for a late-night fast food run to Burger King. Of course, as soon as the fries are passed through my car window, I eat them. You know you do, too. They are salty, starchy, crispy and all things perfection. At least they’re supposed to be.
Sadly, on this fast food night, my fries weren’t fresh. They tasted hours old. As I drove off, my mind ruminated for a moment. Should I return the fries? Don’t be petty, Felicia, they’re just fries! No, you paid for them, you deserve to get your money’s worth.
After a minute of contemplation, I took my fries back. I kindly asked for fresh fries. The crew member informed me that she would have to drop a fresh batch into the fryer. I waited and in just minutes, I had hot french fries, a smile on my face and I uttered a quiet “thank you.” And, in Burger King’s defense, they upgraded my small order to a large for the inconvenience. But, that was never my goal.
You see, this experience is not about fries as much as it is about life. It’s about having a voice. This experience is about getting what you deserve. This experience is about not settling.
If we can’t use our voice for small things, like expecting and receiving a fresh order of french fries, then how will we use our voice for big things? Speaking up has always been hard for me, but I’ve become bolder with age. Speaking up is not about being rude or petty, rather it’s about taking care of yourself.
Imagine if no one ever spoke up when things weren’t quite how they should be. Imagine if we all settled for mediocrity. Imagine if each time our fries or our food was not up to par but we always ate it and we paid for it. The message we would be sending in all of these instances would be that it’s okay to not be deserving. And that, my friends, is simply not the truth.
I know we all have off days, but perhaps, even in those times, we should let them serve as a reminder to demand quality for yourself. Maybe asking for fresh french fries isn’t just about getting your money’s worth but rather a reminder to take the 10 or so minutes needed to enjoy a hot breakfast or a hot bath. Life isn’t always meant to be a race from the moment our feet hit the ground to the moment we tuck ourselves in.
In our busy lives, many of us sacrifice quality so we can have quantity — just one more minute in the day to squeeze something in even if that means you skipped dinner or ate it cold. In today’s world, who has time to turn back around to return cold fries? Not many of us, right? But, the point is, we must make time to never settle. Whether it’s something as small as fries, or something as big as relationships, or work, or our own sanity and peace of mind, we must return it if it isn’t serving us. I’ve become a big believer in rejecting energy that does not serve me.
Each day, we have a choice. We can choose to be defined by the things that weigh us down or deter us from staying on the path of joy and inspiration, or we can return that energy.
So, whether it’s your fries or your vibes, never expect less than what you deserve because you deserve to be heard. You deserve to be the recipient of a quality life… even down to the very last fry.