to be young and dumb

When I was in high school, the Arby’s in Ellensburg Washington was a frequent stop for our youth group during our spring and fall road trips to NNU. A typical trip would start with us leaving Marysville on a Wednesday after school, travelling over the pass, stopping for dinner in Ellensburg (most of us chose Arby’s), then camping in the basement of our youth pastor’s old church in Pendleton Oregon. We would finish the drive into Nampa Thursday morning with a brief stop for breakfast at the Blue Moon Café in La Grande (not the best food but worth a visit to see the model railway that runs throughout the restaurant). The trip back to Marysville on Sunday was a full-day's drive with a quick lunch break in Pendleton.

So, two times a year we would eat at the Arby’s in Ellensburg. And two times a year we would get kicked out of the Arby’s in Ellensburg. Strangely, on each occasion, we were instructed to never return. Lucky for us, the attrition within Arby’s was high enough that the staff was completely new by the time we returned.

We weren’t really bad kids. Most of us grew up in the same church. And we usually tried to stay out of trouble. But for one weekend in October, and again in May, we were on a road trip without parental supervision. It was glorious.

Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t perfect angels. We were obnoxious. And every time we were kicked out, it was fully deserved.

But the way the seating area is laid out at that particular Arby’s is an invitation for disaster. There is a raised middle dining area with sunken seating areas on all three sides. The side areas are separated from the middle section by large planters. As further motivation for a bunch of mischievous teenagers, most of the dining area is obscured from the view of the registers.

What would you do if you were an Arby’s employee and you had a group of customers who:

* Started chanting “Tastes great!” and “Less filling!” from opposite sides of the restaurant
* Played an impromptu game of volleyball by spitting ice cubes over the planters
* Used the squirt bottles of ketchup, horsey sauce, and Arby’s sauce to create “art” on the tables
* Sat by themselves at various tables but carried on conversations as if they were sitting together
* Sang a loud (and off key) rendition of “99 bottles of beer”
* Excused the obnoxious behavior of a friend by saying he suffered from that disease that makes you age four times faster “he may look like he’s 16, but he’s really four!”

Yeah, I’d have kicked us out.


  1. If getting kicked out Arby's every six months during HS is the worst thing you did as a teen, then you were a pretty tame teenager. (which you were) Your parents were lucky!

  2. I HATE YOU!!! We always had the fortune (if you'd call it that) of eating at the McDonalds. Seems to me we got kicked out of there once. BUT! I can also say we've been kicked out of two other McDonalds, The Marysville Mall, The Everett Mall, and K-Mart. I too have been to the Pendelton church for a sleep over. Did you go cow tipping while there? LOL! Erick did...and found a cow pie. Good times. Thanks for the laugh.