You don't have to deal with this unbearable strain anymore, Officer Karen.
On Tuesday night a concerned woman named Ann tweeted a video of a Georgia police officer having a breakdown over the service she received at a rest stop McDonald's.
Ann insisted that America is "better than this" before returning to her usual schedule of sharing every instance she can find of Black men being violent. By Wednesday morning the clip had been retweeted by both critics and defenders—including Donald Trump Jr. who deemed the situation "disgusting"—and had officially gone viral with the phrases "Officer Karen" and "Egg McMuffin" trending.
The police officer, a woman named Stacey, is a 15-year veteran of a police force somewhere in the area of Savannah, Georgia (though the Police Department of Richmond Hill, Georgia—where that McDonald's is located—wants you to know she doesn't work there). In the clip she is visibly and audibly choking back tears as she recounts the harrowing details of what she experienced:
She placed a mobile order for her food—an egg mcmuffin, coffee, and a hash brown—something she says she does "so that people don't pay for my stuff." She's used to the special treatment that ordering food in a police uniform entails, but she apparently doesn't feel the need to bask in the people's gratitude, so she goes out of her way to pay for her order like anyone else. As Ann put it in her open call for people to harass that McDonald's location, "she paid for it in advance"—which Ann may not realize is pretty fundamental to getting food at a McDonald's.
Sadly, in Stacey's case, she never did get her food. After waiting in the drive-thru for sometime, an employee asked what her order was, then asked her to pull ahead where Stacey continued to wait until—on top of the waiting and the forgotten order—she was dealt a final blow in the form of an employee delivering a severed horse head to her car window. Wait, no... It was coffee. Just coffee.
While Stacey had been expecting to receive a sandwich, a hashbrown, and a cup of coffee, she had been made to wait, repeat her order, and then received only one of the three items she ordered. While fast food restaurants have occasionally (or always) been known to deliver beverages before food, in the context of the waiting and the forgetting, it was all just way too much suspicious activity. As Stacey tearfully reported, she was forced to abandon her order, saying, "Don't bother with the food because right now I'm too nervous to take it."
It's genuinely unsettling to see someone—particularly someone whose job involves exercising tremendous power over others—in so much distress over something that sounds so trivial. Then again, those of us who aren't police officers will never understand what it's like for a rest stop McDonald's taking both online and in-person orders to not operate like a well-oiled machine. The horror...
Stacey goes on to say, "I don't know what's going on with people nowadays, but please just give us a break ... I don't know how much more I can take ... and if you see an officer just tell them thank you, because I don't hear thank you enough anymore" (apparently she does want to bask in the people's gratitude).
While the attention that Stacey is getting right now may not be what she was hoping for, there is thankfully an escape hatch that offers Stacey and others like her a simple way out of all that anguish: Quit your job.
With that in mind, here is a message of comfort for Stacey, with five reminders of how great quitting would feel:
The Paranoia Is Real
Remember that time that cop thought someone from McDonalds took a bite out of his food because he was a cop and the… https://t.co/N1cxJPVaSu— Robyn Pennacchia (@Robyn Pennacchia)1592413640.0
Your breakdown comes on the heels of a group of NYPD cops becoming convinced that they had been deliberately poisoned at a Shake Shack—because an employee forgot to wipe some residue of cleaning solution off the milkshake machine. Is that the story that made you "too nervous to take a meal from McDonald's because [you] can't see it being made?"
While there is little evidence of a vast conspiracy of fast food workers tampering with police officers' food, it feels real. What else would explain the way that you're always on edge? Could it be that your militarized training has primed you for an adversarial approach to ordinary citizens—especially if they're Black—and you end up viewing them all as potential violent threats? Could it be that demanding constant, total deference turns anything less into a sign of hostility and disrespect?
No, it's the citizens who are wrong. While the fear has been there for years, ever since the latest video of another white police officer ruthlessly murdering yet another Black man people have been openly pointing all of this criticism at police—which is basically the same as weapons. After all, you could kill anyone who upset you with impunity, so what's to stop all these people who are angry about police brutality from doing the same?!
If You "Don't Get it" by Now, You Never Will
I am speechless. Black people are worried about getting killed in their sleep and cops are having nervous breakdown… https://t.co/aYu2E8ddmB— manny (@manny)1592402898.0
You said that "you don't get what's going on with people nowadays." What's going on is that people are scared by all the stories of innocent and unarmed people being shot in their own beds, or asphyxiated on the street while begging for their lives, or assaulted with pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets while peacefully protesting.
It's not about you, and it's not about "bad apples." What's going on is that police forces that are meant to serve the public good operate instead as violent, bloated institutions that only serve the interests of the wealthy while intimidating and harassing black and brown communities. What's going on is that people don't enjoy having their streets occupied and patrolled by paramilitary forces shipped in from outside of their cities and trained to respond to perceived threats with maximum violence and zero accountability.
What's going on is that the officers who shot Tamir Rice and Philando Castille and countless others never faced justice, and the officers who broke into Breonna Taylor's apartment and killed her in her bed haven't even lost their jobs.
But if you don't get that by now, you never will, and the whole mess is going to continue to frighten and confuse you for as long as you're a cop. So why not retire now?
Your Amazing Pension
mcmuffin cop retires with a 80k pension in 10 years after emptying an entire clip into her own shadow— rod dreher's lesbian researcher (@rod dreher's lesbian researcher)1592410803.0
The monthly payment you're eligible for will depend largely on the community where you worked. While some locales are offering more generous police pensions than others, the fact that you've worked as a cop for 15 years may qualify you for early retirement with as much as a 50% pension! And the really amazing part is, you don't actually have to retire! They will keep paying you even if you go get a real job!
You Will Never Have to Wait for Your Food Again
cops when they have to wait four minutes for their McMuffin https://t.co/bA1OmHh1NX— not jt (@not jt)1592407987.0
You just won't. Think of all the times over the last fifteen years that you've waited for food? Those were all because you're a cop.
We will all say thank you!
is it just me or did anyone else think that cop Karen losing her shit over a delayed McMuffin order and not being t… https://t.co/b6oleZ7xPs— ᴶ ᵘ ˡ ᵉ ˢ (@ᴶ ᵘ ˡ ᵉ ˢ)1592402599.0
Along with the various weapons of your trade and the qualified immunity that protects you from the consequences of using them, you also wield an incredible power that so many Americans envy right now—the power to remove one more paranoid and excitable cop from the streets. If a delayed McMuffin could send you into this kind of meltdown, how would you react if, say, a deaf man failed to respond to your orders? Or if a driver announced that he had a legal firearm in his car before moving to retrieve his vehicle registration? You have the power to remove those frightening possibilities by just quitting your job—and we would all thank you.
Hopefully this helps with your decision, Stacey!