The struggle is real – every single time.

I coach myself.

“You can do this. You were born for this.”

I do a few warm-up drills.

“Reach to the back seat reach to the front seat reach reach reach”

I breathe deeply, attempting to tune every muscle of my body for the exertion that is to come.

Chick-Fil-A Cow

It all happens in less than ten seconds, but therein is the problem. The amount of things that happen in that ten seconds is tantamount to the peak of human ability.

The time has come for the frantic Chick-fil-A pass-off.

One, Two, Three, HUT!

“Hello ma’am I see you have two kids meals with lemonades, a three strip meal with a large iced coffee, and you need Chick-fil-A sauce?”

“That is correct.”

Breathe. You can do this. You do it every week. Way too many times every week.

“Your total is $16.71.”

I hand her my credit card and the marathon begins. Her Ursula-like Octopus arms begin shoving items at my car window in a blur of speed.

Grab lemonade! (“Thank you!” “My Pleasure.”) Pass it back to Ali! Grab other lemonade! (“Thank you!” “My Pleasure.”) Pass it back to Ali as well so Noah doesn’t miss the handoff! Grab kid’s Meals with one pair of fingers and credit card and receipt with other pair of fingers! (“Thank you!” “My Pleasure.”) Set everything down frantically so that she doesn’t toss iced coffee into the car to meet time quota! Grab Iced Coffee! Grab my food! Check for straws and Chick-Fil-A sauce! (“Thank you!” “My Pleasure.”) and DRIVE.

Once again I have completed the feat of the Chick-fil-A Drive-Through Ultra Marathon. All moms in the south are put to this test continuously, as all moms in the south feed their children a diet almost entirely consisting of Chick-fil-A, with a peach thrown in here and there for good measure*.

The drive-thru attendants are finely oiled machines, experts at passing three bags of food into your car while simultaneously swiping your credit card and brewing your fresh and amazingly inexpensive iced coffee. You get the feeling that they’re wearing shock collars under those maroon shirts. If they don’t get all your food out that window within fifteen seconds or neglect to say “My pleasure” every time you say thank you, they will be jolted with a thousand Waffle Watts©, and won’t be able to get that smell of burnt peanut oil out of their hair for weeks.

And then, at some drive-thrus, the pressure has been mounted even further: they now use real, live humans standing in the road to take your order, meaning that you have to know exactly what you want without the aid of the menu board. Sure, they wear a tiny menu written in 4 point font on a thumb ring, but unless you brought your binoculars (and it’s ill-advised to look through binoculars at a woman standing twelve inches from you), it will not suffice.

But ultimately, all of the training, all of the conditioning, all of the physical exertion, all of the mental distress is completely worthwhile: because it keeps you from having to go inside – where there’s a Playplace. Just waiting for your children to climb to the top, get stuck, and panic. Then find half of an abandoned Waffle Fry to eat while they wait on you to slither up to their rescue.

But even that is worth it because of the gift of Chick-fil-A. Or, as my children put it so eloquently,

Ali: “Who doesn’t like Chick-fil-A?”

Noah: “Robbers. Only robbers don’t like Chick-fil-A.”

* Generalizations and exaggerations may be present in this statement. And in this entire blog post. Except about the Ursula arms. They definitely have Ursula arms.

21 thoughts on “Going Pro in Chick-fil-A.

  1. I usually throw in a Peach Milkshake from Chick-fil-A. So kudos to you if you throw in an actual peach.
    I know we eat there too much because the last time we dined in, my three year old ordered Polynesian sauce like a boss.

    1. There are definitely real peaches in that milkshake (because half of them can’t make it up from the straw) so you’re covering your bases just fine. And “Polynesian” is every southern toddler’s first four-syllable word.

  2. Chick-fil-A is so awesome! Delicious food (some of it is even healthy), orders are always right, and the staff is always so pleasant. Love it.

    My problem with fast-food drive-thrus are the ones that ask a million rapid-fire questions: Wouldyoulikecheeseonthat?Wouldyouliketomakeitacombo?Whatsizefries?Wouldyoulikesauce? It’s not good for my brain to have to answer a bunch of questions all in a row like that. It stresses me out.

  3. I’m totally with Noah…the only people in the world who possibly couldn’t like Chick-Fil-A have to be criminals!

  4. We rarely venture to Chick-Fil-A because one of my kids is allergic to peanuts, but when we do go inside for the occasional ice cream, I go during off-peak hours.

    But yeah. The drive thru. Dang. Well oiled machine might be an understatement.

  5. Logan has just started playing in the play place there. For a split second on Saturday, I thought he was going to venture from rearranging other kids shoes and going in the bubble with the steering wheel to attempting the big climb. Thankfully, he decided it was too difficult. I did not want to spend my July 4th disinfecting both of us after rescuing him from the top…But yes, I don’t know how our family would survive if Chick-Fil-A closed. It’s roughly 30% of our diets I believe.

  6. Our Chick-fil-A is still “new” so it’s always busy and it never fails that I crave it on Sundays. If it were only a little closer, I’m sure I’d eat it far more often.

  7. One way to slow them down is to ask for a drink carrier… then you just get all the drinks at once and don’t have to hand them off. :) We just got a new chick-fil-a VERY close to our house. I know it’s going to be very dangerous.

  8. I guess that makes me a robber.

    I’ve only ever had to go there when I was a nanny, and we always went inside because the playscape meant adult time with other nannies, but parking was god-awful. I usually had to circle the lot a few times before I came across someone struggling to buckle their children, and by then the 10 minute wait was nothing.

  9. Cow Appreciation day is coming up! July 14th!!! CFA gets way too much of my money, but I love it! I eat there multiple times a week also!

  10. There’s a FB petition going around to bring In-And-Out up here. I need to get one started for Chik-Fil-A. If those two restaurants were within driving distance my life would be complete.

  11. There is only one Chick-fil-A in Canada, at the Calgary airport, and being that is 4500km away I don’t think I will be visiting anytime soon. There was one down the road from our hotel when we were in Miami in March, but it was just to hot for hubby and I to walk our Eastern Canadian butts down to try it.

      1. Oh yes. Chick-Fil- “ah” was fantastic. Many thanks to Rachel for introducing this Canadian to the wonders it holds. Iced coffee with flavour shots. Yummy breakfast sandwiches. Fantastic fries. and a whole lot more. And Im pretty sure Noah could get a job there if he asked!!

  12. Hi my name is Ginni and I absolutely CANNOT stand Chick-Fil-A. No, I am not a criminal. Yes, I am from Birmingham, AL. No, I am not an alien. Yes, I do like chicken.

    Now about the drive thru… Take your sweet time! I don’t mean be rude about it. But make sure you have your stuff together and get it where it needs to go. Why are they not giving you a cup holder? Two drinks or more should automatically come in a cup holder. I don’t care how many empty cup holders there are in my car. You will hand me my drinks in a cup holder or I will not take them. That should be a no-brainer. They are not going to pay to have your car cleaned if one of those kiddos dumps lemonade in your backseat.

    P.S. My daughter’s school gives out Chick-Fil-A coupons with her A Honor Roll ribbon. Good thing my husband likes it.

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