Friday, July 10, 2009

The Blessing of the Donuts

During the summer of 2005 I was the group leader of a USY on Wheels trip. It started out like any other night of the trip. I arranged for the group attend a baseball game on July 6th - the Kansas City Royals were playing the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium in KC. Seeing as most of the kids on the trip were from the north east, I wanted them to be able to experience baseball somewhere out of the Eastern Time Zone. At the time, the Mariners and Royals were the two absolute worst teams in baseball, so if anything, this was going to be a treat. The game went as expected - close score, very few extra base hits, sub-par pitching - but in the bottom of the 8th inning, everything changed.

The Royals had logged their 11th hit and the stadium began to stir. Being out-of-towners, we didn't have a clue why Homer Simpson's face appeared on the jumbo-tron. I asked one of the security guards what the fuss was, and he said that every time the Royals got twelve hits, everyone with a ticket stub won a free dozen doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. Suddenly the crowd was invested in the game again. There were two outs in the inning when back up catcher Jack Buck stepped to the plate and nailed a double in the gap for hit number 12.

The crowd went ballistic. This probably did not happen so often, being that the Royals sported a record of 27 wins and 55 losses. (Further research indicated the Royals achieved this feat 15 times in the 2005 season.) Who wouldn't be excited about the promise of a dozen overly sweet tasty treats. My kids were psyched and I was excited for all of us. Then the math kicked in. 48 kids + 5 staff + 1 driver meant we had 54 people. 54 people x 12 donuts = 648 donuts.

The group had an early ride to Grand Island, Nebraska the next day. It was nowhere near our longest drive of the summer, so an early wake up time would allow us to claim the donut prize. I decided to call ahead to the local Krispy Kreme before going over. They said they would surely honor the ticket stub rule. When I told them the numbers, the lady on the phone had a mild freak out. From my end of the phone it sounded like when a submarine commander was preparing the ship to dive. She managed to calm herself down and asked us to give them at least 20 minutes.

When we got there, I walked in first. I told the lady we had arrived and they had several dozen prepared. I went back to the bus and told the kids that this would be done in an orderly fashion. I felt bad for the staff of the shop so I encouraged the kids to get drinks even though I knew it would make us have an early bathroom stop during our drive.

The site of 648 donuts was intimidating and there were lots of pictures taken to back up that theory. The staff wore paper Krispy Kreme hats. Everyone had one or two (except for the girl with the gluten allergy) and we had a good laugh about the situation. During the course of the day, one girl ate 30 or so after being egged on by some other kids. Looking back, we should have found a place to donate at least two-thirds of them, but at the time we were all blinded by a combination of gluttonous thoughts and pride in claiming our reward from the night before.

We got back on the bus riding our sugar highs. As we began our drive, many of us drifted off to a morning nap, our stomachs were full and feeling happy. Nobody could have known what was waiting for us five hours down the road.

To be continued...

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