Brett And Hazel

By Penn • October 24, 2014

About 10 years ago when I worked at McDonald's, an elderly couple would come in every Sunday Morning. He would order a decaf coffee with a bran muffin and she would get an egg Mcmuffin with tomatoes. At the time I was what McDonald's calls a 'host'. Basically my job was to walk around the lobby, make sure it's clean, and interact with customers and ask them if there is anything I can do for them. Most customers asked for a refill or some sort of dipping sauce.

I started my 'host' shift on a Sunday and Brett and Hazel showed up at 9 am, after ordering they sat down next to a the window overlooking the play place. My first interaction with them was brief, but with each passing Sunday we became closer. About a month or so later they asked my manager if it was alright that I sit with them, to which he agreed. Most of the conversation was carried by Brett, boy did he ever have good stories. He went to the same high-school as I did back in the 40s, we talked about his first car, how he met hazel, and generally the old ways of life. I really looked forward to their visit and every Sunday I would get their food ready in anticipation of their visit.

One Sunday morning about 4 months after we met they didn't show up. I didn't think anything of it but when they didn't show up the second Sunday I started to get concerned. I wanted to check up on them but I didn't know where they lived, or their phone number or even their last names to be able to look them up. But on the third Sunday Hazel showed up... but this time without Brett. She came up to the counter and said good morning and told me that she'll be only having the egg Mcmuffin from now on and that Brett passed away 3 weeks ago. I sat with her that day but it was mostly silence. I was too young to actually say anything I had no idea what to say. After she left I went back to the freezer where we store our food and I cried my eyes out. From then on she would still come in every Sunday and we would just talk about Brett and laugh about his jokes and she'd make fun of how messy he was.

Brett was a WW2 veteran. And I remember asking him why he went and he laughed and said "Everyone else was going" lol but then he talked about how he really wanted to bring peace to the people in Europe and protect Canada. He then told me something that I remembered yesterday. He said he wanted to help create a world that was built on love not hate.

I no longer work at McDonald's and there are no freezers at my work to cry in... the best I can do is vent to you in hopes that the memory of Brett and brave men like him bring positive change to our lives.


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