Put someone else first

November 10, 2021

By Jeff Becraft


As my folks live in Maryland, whenever I go up there, I-95 is still the fastest way to go… but you have to leave at the proper time. You do not want to hit the Washington beltway between 3:00-7:00 p.m.

Traveling up I-95, I usually have circulating in my mind where I want to eat and what exits have that restaurant. On one trip, I had it all picked out. I was going to stop at exit 173 and go through the drive-thru of my favorite place. There was only one problem… my favorite place had about 15 cars backed up at the drive-thru. I’m thinking, “What kind of shenanigans is this?  It’s 8:30 p.m. This is not dinner time…”

No problem… I will go to my next favorite place. That would have worked… except they had 12 cars backed up… in two lines… 24 cars total.

OK… I’ll head to my third choice.

You have probably figured it out… number three was just as backed up.  I had now wasted 20 minutes off the interstate and not even close to going through a drive-thru or having a dinner in my grasp.

I then get back on the interstate. I will try another exit. My strategy, however, has now changed. The AP and UPI rankings have been thrown out the window. It is no longer what my favorite fast food place is… it is now who has the shortest drive-thru line.

Several exits up, I find a restaurant that only has a few cars at it. I get in line. I give my order through the speaker. I drive up to the window.  As far as I could tell, there were only two people working in the restaurant: the woman at the window helping me and a young guy cooking the burgers. Things took longer than expected and they did not get my order right.

But I am thankful. As I head up I-95 in the dark and eat my burger in the dark, I think about the two people working at the fast food joint.  What is going on inside of them? What has their day been like? With being understaffed and one car after another coming through… at all hours of the day… with some people probably being impatient because they have probably spent way more time than they expected to get their meal… and you are being blamed… What does that feel like?

When we face some situations in life, we have no idea what is going on with the other person. We have no idea what they are dealing with. It is a great opportunity at that “intersection” with that person to brighten their day.

It is a great day to put someone else first.


Jeff Becraft is the Executive Director for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives.  Youth Corps is a life-changing leadership development experience that inspires high school students to be leaders in the Midlands and beyond. You can connect with Jeff at [email protected].