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The Idle American
French Fries in Triplicate...
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 • Posted January 14, 2009

How ‘bout one more holiday story to start off the new year? Or, more correctly, to cap off the old one?

It’s a “feel good” piece about three young men who had put in their time at school one day just before dismissal for the holidays. En route home, they talked their mom into an ice cream stop at McDonald’s, near Hulen Mall in Fort Worth.

Ron Hoffman, who owns several McDonald’s restaurants in the city, saw them get out of the car. The 16-year-olds, sharply dressed in their uniforms worn to school at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, caught his eye….

  • * * * *

Thinking their neat appearance to be the very kind sought in prospective employees, he hoped that maybe, just maybe, the purpose of their visit might be to check out employment opportunities.

He overheard their conversations about ice cream, and his heart sank. Mom’s mandate, however, was a quick cockle-warmer. In fact, her proviso could have been no more effective if he’d scripted it himself.

“We’ll order the ice cream AFTER you boys get applications for jobs,” she announced….

  • * * * *

Hoffman and two of his associates quickly introduced themselves, as if on cue. Applications were completed in short order, and the youngsters were hired before they could eat their ice cream.

Matthew, Mark and Luke Wilborn—identical triplets born in Fort Worth to Rev. and Mrs. James Wilborn—had landed their first jobs.

Their assignments? Manning the three drive-through windows….

  • * * * *

The trio is having tons of fun noting double takes—then triple takes—as customers drive through.

“Are y’all twins?” is a typical question at window #2.

At window #3, some customers are pretty sure that it’s the same guy zipping quickly from window to window….

  • * * * *

TV folks jumped on the story first. Brett Johnson from NBC-5 in Fort Worth spent several hours with McDonald’s “three disciples.” (An early question, of course, was whether the triplets had a brother named “John.” They have five siblings, including one “James,” but no “John.”)

In our world that is sometimes described as a “train wreck in progress,” hope and good will—however faint—are wonderful nuggets in a slag field of “gloom and doom.”

The clip was picked up by NBC affiliates throughout the nation. America is breaking into a smile as viewers learn of these youngsters serving folks in triplicate….

  • * * * *

“Shelf life” of the story remains strong.

Queries have come from Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” in Los Angeles and from “Good Morning America” in New York City.

Who knows where these sons of a preacher-man will wind up? Right now, Matthew, Mark and Luke are taking it all in stride….

  • * * * *

These youngsters have a plan.

All three are musicians. They play electric guitars and have goals to reach star status, say like the Jonas Brothers.

When they graduate from the Academy a couple of years from now, they hope to attend UCLA to learn more about the music industry….

  • * * * *

I hope someone lets them know that my services are available to help them on the national scene. I just might be able to help them get a shot at Good Morning America.

After all, I’m experienced, having been a guest there last summer.

Oh, you didn’t see it? I’m sorry. To refresh your memory, it was a Friday in Bryant Park. During Sam Champion’s weathercast, I muscled my way through the mass of humanity until I was just one person away from the restraining rope. Alas, the “obstacle” was a big college guy waving a sign to his mom and dad back home in Nebraska. It read, of course, “SEND MONEY.”…

  • * * * *

Okay, so I was a “face in the crowd.” At least I’m not claiming to be an advisor to ABC. That would be a stretch, too. However, when I offered to advise the ABC moguls, they said if they ever needed my advice, they’d ask for it.

What nerve!

As to the triplets, maybe there’ll be a talent scout posing as a customer. After the youngsters process the order, including the inevitable question about “wanting fries with that,” they can “sing their ‘thank-you’s.’” Or at least strum guitar accompaniment.

And one day, they can tell their kids and grandkids about working the drive-through windows at McDonald’s, where they brightened the way for others on life’s rocky roads….

  • * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker and author in the Metroplex. He welcomes inquiries and comments. Email: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com.

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