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PSA: the drive-thru microphone hears EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME.


The drive-thru at a fast food restaurant is a one-of-a-kind social experience. Just about every step is a weird form of human interaction that occurs literally nowhere else.

And, oh yes, there are robot speakers that look alarmingly like sci fi trash cans.

Those microphone/speaker machines mark the first step in the drive-thru experience. All is garbled on both ends, so the employee and the customer routinely yell at one another--sometimes out of anger, but often purely out of necessity.

But when that insane interaction is finished, there comes a sense of relief for customers. They feel as if they can withdraw back into their private zone in the car. Sure, the window is open, but at least there's only a quick food handoff left.

WRONG. That microphone is still on, my friend. Consider yourself warned.

HawaiianShirtsOR asked, "Fast food employees, how sensitive are the drive-thru microphones? What unexpected stuff have you heard from customers who didn't think you could hear them?"

Drive Thru 101

"I don't think most people realize that if your car is pulled up on the sensor that triggers the microphone, we can hear what you're saying the entire time.

"I have heard conversations about people complaining about a long line, straight up badmouthing my coworkers, etc."

"I advise you to put your window back up after you order lol"

-- nireseor98

Cat Parents

"Once heard someone saying 'stay buckled baby! you'll get a treat treat if you're good okay?' and i thought they were talking to a child."

"They pulled up to the first window and there was a kitten in the front passenger seat trying to climb up the back :)"

-- wetsocksssss

A Good Boss 

"People might not realize that everyone im the fast food place hears you, not just the person youre talking to. At least at my Wendys we all wore headsets."

"This is kind of related to the question, but while i worked there it was pretty common for a customer at the drive through to get impatient and disrespectful with the person taking their order, which was almost always a woman at that position."

"To their surprise though, whenever this would happen, my manager, who was a very large man, would turn on his mic and start laying into the guy about how he cant treat his employees like that."

"The shock you could hear in their voices when they suddenly had to confront a man about the behavior they didnt think anyone else could hear was always rly funny"

-- toaster_rider

Where Everybody Knows Your Name--And Voice 

"As long as your car is over the sensor the person can hear you, just a warning for anyone who wants to chat about any sensitive topics."

"Commonly heard about STDs, secret pregnancy and embarrassing medical issues which was all the worse given I worked in a small town and I often knew these people."

-- Darthrevan4ever

Zero Support for the Lizzards

"Worked at Brown's Chicken, had a lady pull up and ask for 'half pound chicken lizzards'."

"'liver? Or gizzards?' I asked."

"'half pound chicken lizzards!'."

"Then I hear a guy next to her say, 'woman, you know it's a damn reptile.' cracked me up."

-- raulduke05

Captive Performers

"I am in a college town so I've heard it all. Lots of conversations about sex and drugs. Sometimes I will leave them waiting so I can listen to the rest of the conversation." -- sarahboo0321

"So that's why I'm always in line so long, you are listening to my interesting life. LOL." -- cuoyi77372222

High Standards for Nuggets

"Not a fast food worker, but I used to do support for cell phones and occasionally had idiots call me from their cars before going through drive thrus."

"I had one lady who went to McDonald's, ordered a 6 piece McNuggets and an extra large coffee with 12 cream, 6 sugars, and 6 sweeteners (health conscious, obviously)..."

"...and after she was asked to drive around she either muttered or said to someone else in the car (she'd left the phone on the dashboard or something after asking me to 'hold') 'I swear to God if they're out of Sweet & Sour sauce again I'm gonna shove those Mcnuggets so far up the manager's a** he's gonna need a colonoscopy to find them all.'"

"All I could think is maybe she should have ordered that coffee as a decaf."

-- feor1300

Good, But Not That Good

"My friend and I were both working one day. A guy pulls up and she asks if we can take his order, he says give me just a sec.. so we wait."

"And this guy is telling his passenger this long story. No one was behind him in line so we let him go on and on and there are 3 of us just listening to this story being told at the ordering mic."

"Finally my friend speaks up and says 'guys, this is a great story but are you ever going to let us know what we can get for you?' And both guys in the car start laughing and finally say what they want."

"When they came up to the window the guy was still laughing and asked for a picture of us because it was the best comeback he's ever heard. He was a restaurant owner in a nearby valley where the best wines in the world are made."

"He also left a great review about us on Yelp. Nice guy too."

-- reb678

Hit and Run-Thru

"One time, the guy started ordering, then some other bloke walked up to his open window for almost running him over."

"Why was he walking in the drive thru in the first place? Idk it was kinda weird and this dude was ranting at the driver for a while."

"Most of the time I can barely hear the order though"

-- Jp_gamesta

Bullied At the Window 

"So kind of the opposite thing, one time I ordered and I was in a really good mood and I kind of sang/talked 'thank you~ ~' to the drive thru person..."

"...and as I was driving away I could hear them mock me 'ThAnK yOu~ ~' it immediately ruined my day."

-- merlamer

Storytime 


Bro, fast food storytime. I was in line a fast food burger place that's popular in Texas. I was stuck behind some b!tch taking forever to order (windows down, could hear her the whole time) DID NOT know what she wanted. When she was finally done I zipped up to that speaker, and waited.

When they asked for my order I spit that like I had rehearsed it for hours. When I got up to pick my order up, the guy leaned out and said "there's an apple pie and some extra fries. Thanks for knowing what you wanted." Made my day and apparently his.

Krazypsychic

We're waiting


Reminds me of when I worked my first fast food job. One point I started working overnights and one dude pulled up at like 2AM and took 32 minutes to place an order consisting of a single combo meal.

Best part is because he took 32 minutes to place his order, our SOS for the night was ~30 minutes so I got the pleasure of being chewed out by my boss the next day for us being so slow despite the fact we literally did nothing wrong.

Kryso

Satisfaction

Sometimes I wish that other industries could do what I do when faced with someone who can't figure out what they want/need to say.

"Timmy? Did you forget what you were thinking about? It's ok....im going to ask Sally what her idea is, and you can keep thinking. If you remember, raise your hand and I'll call on you, ok?" (Said multiple times throughout the week to the preschoolers I teach).

Can you imagin if you could skip to the next customer in line!?! I think job satisfaction would improve immensely lol.

chefjenga

Comeback slap


My friend and I were both working one day. A guy pulls up and she asks if we can take his order, he says give me just a sec.. so we wait. And this guy is telling his passenger this long story. No one was behind him in line so we let him go on and on and there are 3 of us just listening to this story being told at the ordering mic.

Finally my friend speaks up and says "guys, this is a great story but are you ever going to let us know what we can get for you? And both guys in the car start laughing and finally say what they want.

When they came up to the window the guy was still laughing and asked for a picture of us because it was the best comeback he's ever heard. He was a restaurant owner in a nearby valley where the best wines in the world are made. He also left a great review about us on Yelp. Nice guy too.

reb678

Good management 

​People might not realize that everyone in the fast food place hears you, not just the person you're talking to. At least at my Wendys, we all wore headsets. This is kind of related to the question, but while i worked there it was pretty common for a customer at the drive-through to get impatient and disrespectful with the person taking their order, which was almost always a woman at that position. To their surprise though, whenever this would happen, my manager, who was a very large man, would turn on his mic and start laying into the guy about how he cant treat his employees like that. The shock you could hear in their voices when they suddenly had to confront a man about the behavior they didn't think anyone else could hear was always really funny

toaster_rider

Speak up


One time, the guy started ordering, then some other bloke walked up to his open window for almost running him over. Why was he walking in the drive thru in the first place? Idk it was kinda weird and this dude was ranting at the driver for a while.

Most of the time I can barely hear the order though

Jp_gamesta

Big brother 


Just a heads up...most new Starbucks drive thrus (2017 and newer) also have a camera on them. We can see you picking your nose....

Also, if a siren is going by, please just wait. I can't hear a damn thing.

General_Distance


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Now that college has become a standard requirement for so many jobs and careers, there is a massive push by high schools to get their graduating students accepted and enrolled at an undergraduate college.

On the whole, that's undoubtedly a great thing. A more educated workforce will be prepared to solve the most complex issues facing human beings in the next several decades.

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Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.

The person on the other end of a 911 call has a truly remarkable job.

For those who don't play that professional role, we hope to never encounter the 911 call interaction. But if we do find ourselves making that call, the moment is an anomaly in our lives.

The chaos, the panic, the racing heart, and the desperation are all emotions we, ideally, don't experience on a regular basis.

But for the operator on the other end, our call is one in a long line of calls they've received all day, and all the workdays before that one.

It's difficult to imagine being embedded in those uniquely urgent, emergency moments all the time.

Some Redditors who are on the other end of that call shared their experiences on the job.

WhimsicalxxButcher asked, "911 dispatchers what has been your most creepy/unnerving call?"

For a few, the most unnerving moments were the calm callers.

There was something just so eerie about how level-headed the faceless human being on the other end could be through such a desperate, tragic moment.

Almost Clinical 

"I had a friend who worked as a 911 dispatcher and he always said the worst call he ever had was a ~20 year old kid who committed suicide by mixing a bunch of chemicals together in his car to produce hydrogen sulfide gas."

"He said that the most unnerving part was hearing him calmly listing off the chemicals, the type of gas produced, and the effects of hydrogen sulfide on the body (namely the almost instant death it causes at high concentrations)."

"He ended the call by providing the address of the parking lot he was in and saying that nobody should approach the vehicle without hazmat equipment."

"Apparently after that there was a whooshing sound as he dumped the last chemical into the mix, and then the line went dead silent aside for a quiet fizzing noise."

"I know that call screwed him up because he almost never talks about stuff that happens to him on the job. He quit a few months later to go into construction management, and frankly I can't blame him."

-- iunoyou

Planned Out 

"A woman called me, saying she was going to kill herself. She was gassing herself. Gave me her name & address then said she was just going to lie down and 'go to sleep.' And stopped responding to me."

"I kept the line open, trying to get her to speak to me, and eventually heard officers forcing their way in to find her body. I guess she just wanted someone to find her body."

-- mozgw4

Before It Set In 

"When I got a call from a 6 year old who got home from school and laid down to take a nap with his dad. His dad never woke up."

"The kid was so calm when calling it broke my heart."

"I ended up leaving dispatch shortly after. I was good at compartmentalizing the job for the year I was doing it, but it would've broken me in the long run."

-- tasha7712

Other 911 operators were unfortunate enough to receive a call from the very last person they wanted to hear from: a loved one.

These dispatchers' unique position gave them the unexpected access to a family member or friend at their most dire moments.

No More of That 

"My family member is a long time first responder, and 'retired' into doing dispatch. He heard the address (someone else was taking the call) and realized it was his daughter's house."

"He rushed over there just in time to see them wheeling her body out. Overdose."

"Five months later, he was called to his ex-wife's place because his grandson (son of the daughter who recently passed) had his door locked, lights on, but wasn't responding to his grandma."

"He broke the door down and found him deceased in bed. Overdose."

"He's very stoic after years of all sorts of traumatic situations but my heart hurts whenever I think of what all of this must have felt like. Like sand through your fingers."

-- bitchyhouseplant

Knowing the Address

"Not me, but my grandma. I was sitting in the dispatch office, (very small one only 2 dispatchers including my grandma) but she put out a dispatch that there was a gun shot from my best friends address."

"My heart sank to my stomach and broke later that day. He committed suicide."

-- OntaiSenpuu

When it Happened 

"My uncle passing away. Worked as a small town dispatcher for a year or so. Had a bunch of messed up stuff happen on shift, but this call came in in the still hours of the night. Small town, so not many calls after midnight."

"I answered and recognized the name and address on caller id. Aunt was in a frenzy so didn't recognize my voice. I remained calm and got ems and fire rolling to them, but by my aunt's own words he was already blue."

"I went thru debriefing and mandated therapy for a couple other things that happened, but never really talked to anyone about this. I just try not to think about it."

"That was the call I figured out I needed to find a different job."

-- dangitjon

Finally, some simply had a front row seat to sudden tragedy.

These operators were flies on the wall when disaster struck. They never asked to witness what they witnessed, but sometimes that came with the territory.

A Holiday Tragedy 

"My mom is a 911 dispatcher. Early on she said one Christmas Eve while working she got a call from an elderly lady who's husband had just collapsed(and died) from a heart attack and in the background Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas music was playing on blast."

"The lady was screaming and crying and begging for her husband to wake up but my mom could hear his gurgling in his last breathes. She doesn't listen to or watch Alvin and the chipmunks since."

-- Blueflowerbluehair

What is it About Christmas?

"Christmas night. 911 call with crying child on the other end. A neighbor had run her car over her mom during a domestic."

"The mom crawled to the porch bleeding and the child saw the car coming back. I had her hide quietly in a closet with the cordless phone."

"The 10 year old child was crying and screamed that she hated Christmas. She was afraid of the police when they got there."

"I kept her on the phone until she felt safe enough to give the phone to an officer. I almost fainted after that call was over. Had nightmares for a while."

-- 2FunBoofer

Close to Home 

"Not a dispatcher but I handle radio communications for the Coast Guard. One night I was on the radio and got a call from an 11 year old kid whose boat had started to sink. He was out with his dad and 6 year old brother."

"They had been hit by another boat and his father got knocked unconscious. I remember the entire conversation up until the radio had gone underwater."

"They ended up finding his dad floating on his back alive but the two boys didn't make it. That one really fu**ed with me because my two littlest brothers were around the same age as the youngest."

-- HIRSH2243

A Horrible Clock 

"Another one that stays with me was the man who called in. It was the anniversary of his adult son having hanged himself. He'd now come home to find his wife had done the same."

"That date is always going to be a black day for him."

-- mozgw4


If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Again, we hope you never have to use the 911 call in your life. Nobody wants to be involved in a sudden emergency or a tragic incident.

But hopefully, if you do, an operator like one of these thoughtful, sensitive Redditors is on the other end.

Image by Nguyen Dinh Lich from Pixabay

When I was moving on from middle school to high school my parents had me tested for the "gifted" program. By some miracle I passed and was accepted. And then I turned it down. Everyone was irritated. "This will pave the way for any college you want! You'll learn so much!" his path will set you up for life!" Every adult tried valiantly to sell me this merchandise but in my gut I just wasn't buying it. So I "settled" a level below, merely advanced classes. And upon reflection... it was the best choice I ever made.

Redditor u/dauntlessdaisy was wondering how far some in life got by asking... For those of you who were considered "gifted" in school, what are you doing with your life now?
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