Tales of the Age of Youthful Ignorance

If my past self could talk, this is what she’d say

Hoang Samuelson
7 min readSep 19, 2021
Photo by Alessandro Porri on Unsplash

In 2017, we took a trip to Disneyland to celebrate my daughter’s fourth birthday. (Oh, how I miss Disneyland). While driving to our hotel, our stomachs grumbled, reminding us that we hadn’t eaten in hours. Couple that with our desire to “try out” an In-N-Out burger, we stopped by the first one we saw, somewhere in the suburbs of Los Angeles. While my husband looked for a booth, I went to the front counter to order our food. The employee who took my order looked very, very young — he did not appear to be older than seventeen. With such friendliness and grace, he reiterated my order to make sure it was right.

“One double double, one cheeseburger, one hamburger, three French fries, two waters, and two sodas,” he repeated to me. “Is that correct?”

“Yes,” I replied. “That’s correct.”

“Great!” he chirped. Then he gave me the total.

I still remember this short, simple interaction because it made me realize two things. One, if this kid really is a teenager like I think he is, then he is a much better employee than I ever was. Two, he’s probably going to move up in the world (maybe at In-N-Out, maybe not) faster than I ever could have.

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Hoang Samuelson

Features Editor @ Chowhound. Former lead editor @BooknBrunch.com. Writer of food, family and fiction. Based in Portland, OR. More at hoangsamuelson.com