Happy Meal

Mmm. That was the best food I’ve had in a while. Especially that burger. Or the fries. I can’t decide, but I think that the burger was better. But then again, who am I to judge? I can’t even remember the last time that I had a McDonalds. Come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time that I had my own money to pay for food.


Chicago is rough, man. It starts with your heat being shut off. Then your water. Then a notice telling you to pay your bills. And then an eviction notice. And then all of a sudden the city if fed up with you not paying and you’re out on the street. It’s not as bad in the summer because of all the tourists, but the winter is fucking cold and windy.


Hm. Maybe there are more fries in here… (digs). Yes! More salty heavenly fries at the bottom of the bag. I think that the McDonald’s worker gave me more fries on purpose. I guess he could tell that I hadn’t eaten a while. (eats fries)


I liked him—the worker. He didn’t look at me like most people do.


Don’t make eye contact,” they whisper, “we’re not going to give him any money. Just keep walking.” It’s like people think that homelessness is contagious. If they come to close to me, they might catch it. Do you know how insulting that is? They think that they can regard me as trash because of my state. But news flash for you-- I’m still a human, and I’m trying to change my situation.


It was my fault though. And I fucking hate myself more every day for those decisions I made. Ya know, when you hear that trying drugs just once can get you addicted, most of the time you think “Yeah, right”, but now I’m thinking “Yeah. Right.” It happened fast. I’ve never had lots of money to begin with, so once I lost my job I was basically a goner. Hitting the streets was hard, but it made me realize that this is real. I’ve got to get my shit together.



But no. Not him. Not this worker. He smiled at me as I ordered my food and did not seem to shy away from me as I reached out to hand him the crinkled dollars that I got this morning.  But he wouldn’t take them. Can you believe that? He refused my money, and in turn handed me a bag full of food. I could see the grease spots of the bag.


“Enjoy your meal, sir,” he had said.


Nothing more happened then. I left with my food and money. He wished me a goodnight, and I told him thank you.


Turns out he gave me a happy meal. With a Shrek figurine.


This world is kinda twisted, don’t you think? I’m the kind of person who, if I had anything, would want to share it all with people who are in my position. But no, I have nothing to offer, especially considering that people won’t even take a kind word from me. I wish I had it in me to change the world.  


Thanks to this man, I have had my first meal in days. And furthermore, since I left McDonalds it’s like an internal fire has been lit in me.  Maybe it’s the warmth of the burger or the fries that have seeped into me. Or maybe it’s the way that he smiled at me and did not judge. Since I left that restaurant, this cold air hasn’t felt so cold any more.