It’s winter break, and one for one morning that means the Thompsons are going out for McDonald’s breakfast. It was just my three kids and me – mama was driving three hours north toward the Promised Land: IKEA.
At McDonald’s, my children got their fill of hot cakes, sausage biscuits, and a second order of hot cakes. We even had time to film a mannequin challenge, which took a couple of tries.
As we were finishing up, something remarkable happened. Over the speaker system came “Bring Me to Life,” by Evanescence. Most of my attention went directly there – I’m distracted by music anyway, but it’s a great song (that rocks so hard).
As the song reached the first chorus, I saw out of the corner of my eye, a girl stand up.
I had noticed her enter the restaurant with someone else, place her order, and take a seat close to the entrance. She was almost certainly a “special needs” student, about middle school age. As she stood, she closed her eyes and engaged in the most passionate lip sync I’ve ever seen.
There was nothing outlandish about it. She wasn’t flailing about or even holding a pretend microphone. If she were in front of her bedroom mirror, no one would have thought twice.
But here she was in the middle of McDonald’s on a Wednesday morning giving the performance of her life. She couldn’t have been more passionate if she were Amy Lee herself, on stage at Madison Square Garden.
I was captivated.
And yet, I could only steal an occasional glance. Staring would have been rude. Plus, I didn’t want her to see me watching and stop what she was doing. Let her have her moment. I just smiled to myself and sipped my coffee.
I loved that she was inspired by the music. As a musician, I can relate. As a teacher, that’s all we’re really aiming for.
I loved that the song gave her a voice. She may not have been able to articulate how she felt in that moment, other than to let the lyrics and the music (which somehow seems so much more articulate) speak for her.
I loved that she lip synced with conviction. Sure, it was funny to watch. But at the same time, when anyone does something with total conviction, you can’t help but be a little envious.
So shoutout to you, girl at McDonald’s. I will never forget you.