The Duncan Banner

May 21, 2013

Power outages keep burger flippers busy

Ed Darling
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Deborah Hudson slowed from the frantic pace just long enough to admit it was probably the busiest day ever at McDonald’s Restaurant in the Duncan Walmart on U.S. 81 here.

“It started around 3:30 p.m.” she said, watching a line 20 people deep patiently wait for a chance to order, “and it hasn’t let up since. We had to bring extra workers in from the other store and we’ve stayed just like this.”

Seven blue-shirted employees stayed busy. A regular staff is just two.

The unusual pace was caused by the rash of tornadic activity that spared Stephens County of damages akin to those that rammed Moore and Norman, but added an eerie feel to the late afternoon and early evening hours.

Duncan Public Utilities lost service when its source was interrupted and stilled.

The lack of power caused a sense of controlled chaos, immediate installation of four-way stop signs, darkened street and traffic lights, snake-like lines of brake-pumping traffic, cautious movement at intersections like Elk and U.S. 81, empty parking lots, an unexpected night off for employees and a mad rush for semi-fast food as commerce came to a screeching halt.

“We’re selling everything,” Hudson, the McDonald’s manager, said, grateful Wal-Mart’s generator keep it open and heightened its popularity. “And nobody seems to mind standing in line.”

It wasn’t that way everywhere, though, as business took the hit.

Tastee’s, Kwik-Serv and KFC appeared to fare well either because of generators or service from PSO, but for the most part, stores and restaurants were closed, traffic was slow, doors open only for fresh air and customer interest invisible.

 Grills were cool. Cash registers were silent. Computers were blank. Old-fashioned conversations were rekindled.

It was a strange day, an uneventfully eventful day, one full of respect for Mother Nature, one full of waiting and watching and hoping. By any measure, it was a day Duncan and most of Stephens County was again able to count their blessings.