She works at Wendy’s and she loves giving me a true handful of ketchup packets. Her seemingly meaningless gesture brightens my day.

We have a Wendy’s near our office. So sometimes in a pinch for lunch, Wendy’s it is. I’m not a huge fan, which is important. Their fries used to suck. Now they claim to cut them by hand and use sea salt to act all foody. They suck less now, but again, in a pinch. And sometimes those pinches are instigated by me, because of the Ketchup Lady.

I read somewhere sometime ago where fast-food restaurants lost gargantuillions on sauce packets, ketchup being the leading loss leader. I remember back in the day when you never asked for ketchup, you just got it, and lots of it. And lots ended up unused and in landfills. Terrible stuff. I agree.

Now you have to ask for ketchup, and their idea of packet-to-medium-fry ratio is two. Two ketchup packets. Then you ask for “some more,” and they begrudgingly give you one more. Three ketchup packets. I don’t ask for more.

But not the Ketchup Lady. Oh, she was properly schooled on the Corporate Office’s “Ketchup Handout Holdout Handbook.” But on our first meeting she opened the drive-thru window with a smile that said special orders don’t upset her. So before she could holdout on the handout, I said, “Can I get a nice handful of ketchup, please?” She smiled and said, “Of course.”

She reached into the safe that houses their precious ketchup and came out with a nice handful – sixish. She understood. We made a connection. She sent me on my way feeling awesome.

The Ketchup Lady

Now when those pinches come up, I look forward to seeing the Ketchup Lady, and she never disappoints. She’ll hand me my food, see it’s me, smile that smile, pull the bag back in and load it with ketchup.

I don’t go to any other Wendy’s, like I said, not a big fan. But I love going to the Ketchup Lady’s Wendy’s.

So who’s your Ketchup Lady; the one who inadvertently brightens your day through a seemingly meaningless gesture? I’d love to hear your Ketchup Lady story.