On Grace’s 11 month birthday we decided that we would celebrate by cashing in her free ice cream cone coupon that she earned by completing the summer reading program at the library. Although I’m not a fan of McDonald’s, that is where the coupon was for so that is where we went! As Nate and I were walking into the place I was feeling sick to my stomach and a little like white trash.
Nate & I sat down in a booth with our food. I ordered the fish sandwich. It came in a perfect rectangle shape and I honestly thought to myself, “This is not real food.” Oh well! We weren’t there for real food. We were there for real missions. In comes Ester.
Ester looked like she was in her late 70s or early 80s. Her short shoulder length hair was pure white and pulled back with clips on the sides. Her clothes were clean and in good condition. She looked well-kept, but her mouth had the look of an older person who was missing some teeth. Her teeth along with her sunken cheeks gave off the impression that she was poor even though the rest of her appearance did not. It didn’t help that she was in McDonald’s. Everyone looks a little worn for wear sitting in a McDonald’s.
Ester sat down with her food and started complaining to me about how much mayonnaise was on her burger and that the shredded lettuce was “all over the place.” Once she started talking she really didn’t stop. I told Nate , “She must not have enough people in her life to talk to during the day.”
Poor Ester had a burger that was slightly pink in the middle. She was pissed. After showing me the burger she went up to complain. While she was waiting in her booth for burger number two she very loudly declared, “If this second one is raw too then I’m going to go up there and shove it up their @$$!!” Honestly, Nate and I lost it. It was all too funny. We felt like we were getting a free show with our dinner.
Sadly for Ester, burger number two was also pink. Ester walked back and forth from her booth to ours to show Nate how raw her burger was about 5 times before she complained at the counter again. That was when things got personal. For some reason Ester shared with us that her husband and 30-year-old son had died in the same year. Suddenly she wasn’t so funny anymore.
I’m really not sure how we got there, but by the time Nate and I were ready to leave Ester had really warmed our hearts. She was still pretty crazy, but she was a crazy lady with a story. Don’t we all have a story? Why are we so quick to write off that the annoying stranger has a story too?
Nate bought Ester a $10 gift card. She melted. We could tell that she was really touched. Then she started telling us about her arm that she had broken in two places. The doctor wanted to do surgery, but she was hoping that physical therapy would be enough. There it was. My IN. Ever since she shared that she lost her husband and only child my gut was telling me to pray for her.
“Ester, may I pray for your arm?”
A short prayer, a couple of hugs, a simple gift card – and our trip to McDonald’s for Grace’s first taste of ice cream ended up being a God ordained missions trip.