It is hard to believe that only 4 short days ago, it was Christmas. We are still in Hanukkah. And while this is a time for giving and a time for us all to open our hearts, there are still people suffering and going unnoticed, by the more fortunate… especially Wendy’s.
Since the summer, I’ve seen a elderly man stand by the exit of the local Wendy’s, patiently waiting for someone to give him some food. I offered him $20 once. He refused it, and asked me to buy him a #2 and a drink. And although he never initiated a conversation, it is clear he is there because this is his way of having dinner; or perhaps his only meal of the day. He doesn’t stand there every night. But whenever I’ve seen him, it’s past midnight. I’ve seen him there as late at 1 am.
Tonight I drove by the local Wendy’s. It is supposed to snow tonight; but there he was, standing and waiting for someone to buy him something to eat. I turned around, drove into the drive through; and waited for 15 minutes while a large line slowly allowed me to reach the oversized menu. I asked the person, taking orders if the old man was still there. He didn’t know what I was talking about. I told him there is an old man standing at the exit (about 20 feet from window #2). The person claimed he didn’t know what I was talking about. I told him to look out of his window and let me know if the man was standing next to him or not. If he was, I was there to order him some food. If he wasn’t I would order myself something. He became annoyed with me, and told me to place my order. I gambled. I ordered a #2 and a sprite for the man. Then told him I was placing a completely separate order for an iced tea and some nuggets.
My local Wendy’s has 2 drive through windows. Window #1, is where you would pay. It’s approximately 60 feet from the exit. Window #2 is where you pick up the food and depart; and it's approximately 20 feet from the exit, where the man was standing.
While waiting to approach Window #1, two younger employees signaled to me, the man was still at the exit. I reached Window #1, the young man said he wanted to tell me the old man was there. I paid for my orders, then told the young man, it’s not good to keep the old man out there in the cold; and the man could die…. and then what?
I drove to Window #2. What I didn’t realize was the young man at Window #1 didn't’ take my orders. The Manager at Window #2 took my orders. The young man had a headset on ; and had listened to my order and conversation with the manager, but obviously couldn’t give me a status on the elderly man. The Manager give me the #2, closed his window and prepared the next order. After a few moments, he looked at me with annoyance on his face. He opened the window, and I promptly told him I placed two orders. The kicker… Both Window’s #1 and #2 protrude from the building allowing a 180 degree view. I saw the elderly man through the Manager’s window, while driving up to Window #1.
I then drove the 20 feet to the old man. I gave him the food and asked him not to stay out in this weather. He told me he has stayed out in much colder weather. I relayed it was 33 degrees out; and pleaded with him to go home and warm up. I wished him well, not wanting to intrude upon him and hoped he would listen to me. From earlier encounters I learned he lived close by and would not take any other charity other than food.
What gets me, is this man has a long solid history of not imposing upon Wendy’s customers; and has waited quietly at the exit for over 7 months. During this season of giving, that Wendy’s Manager only cared about profits. As a Manager, he serves as "The Example" of what Wendy’s is as company; and through his actions, he has proven Wendy’s cares only for the bottom line, in my opinion. How much does it cost Wendy’s to produce a burger (#2) and a soda?
Dave Thomas started the Dave Thomas Foundation. An admirable part of his legacy. Yet when charity comes in the form of and elderly man, his daughter’s company turns a blind eye? I’m reaching gout to you Wendy Thomas. Give this elderly man free dinner. I am sure you can afford it. And if not, you can reach me directly though my site; and I’ll pick up the bill. Just let him go in and order his meal. Send me a monthly or weekly bill, and I'll pay it. Just don't keep this man waiting to eat in the cold and in the dead of night.
Wendy, give this man some food. And give other elderly people a break. You may not make as much as you did last year… but you will allow those people a meal. Look at the alternative. An elderly man’s death from starvation at the front door of your father’s legacy and your namesake. You are better than that.