On my way in to work on the 4th, I passed a McDonald’s. All the lights were on. There were a few cars in the parking lot.
Everyone at work was disappointed that we were asked to work. But, to be clear, we were only disappointed because we expect to have the holiday off. What about the people working at McDonald’s, or Walmart or Starbucks? Those people never even expect to have the 4th off. Those poor souls just expect to work every day until they die. And we never think about them. We never give it a thought when we stop by Starbucks for a coffee before meeting our families for Thanksgiving. We never pause for reflection as we run in Walmart for some last-minute item before Christmas dinner.
These unfortunate people see customers who are in a hurry, who are rude, who are hateful day after day, and for the most part, make barely enough money to scrape by.
What does Independence Day mean for them? The very word itself is almost a joke. Independence.
Most days, I have no faith in our collective desire to even try to make things better. There is, however, the faintest glimmer of hope that one day we will value each other, not as commodities to exploit, but as fellow human beings to treasure.
Until that day comes though, maybe we can at least smile at the person giving us our burger.