This story is dedicated to
Mr. Bruce and I went to Indigo Sky Casino Thursday for a little day trip. We had a very nice time, but that's not the story I want to share. It's our return trip home on Friday morning that I found so interesting.
We left the casino early and drove into Neosho, MO for breakfast in a local cafe. Well, after making a quick drive through the town and only seeing the normal fast food places, Mr. Bruce decided to drive on the the next town. It was a beautiful summer morning and we thought it fun to stay on Route 60 that goes through the countryside and a couple of rural towns. Usually, he would head straight to Joplin and I-44. (Joplin has restaurants on every corner and of course, I-44 is faster.) The next town of any size was Monett, MO. By this time Mr. Bruce wasn't worried about quaint little local cafes, he headed straight to McDonald's. (and has complained about the food ever since, but that's another story.)
As y'all know, I don't get out much and haven't been to many of the newly remodeled fast food places. I was amazed at the new look at the McDonald's. Of course, it's been over 5 years since I'd been to that one. Bright and modern design, lots of light and very pleasant. It's not a large place, not sure of seating numbers.
I found us a table and started my people watching. Yep, there were a couple of tables with the old retired men that are always there. Across the room were couple of tables filled with little ones who couldn't sit still. Nothing different here... but wait.. over in the corner booth was a guy with a laptop. And in another booth another guy with laptop and he had it plugged in recharging. There was a couple sitting beside me and both of them were on laptops. I could tell by the conversation that he was online doing business and she was deep in thought browsing and emailing.
There were 5 people there online taking advantage of the free WiFi, only one was a younger woman. My favorite was a gentleman dressed in bib-overalls that appeared to be about Mr. Bruce's age, 77. Anyone who thinks that these new gadgets are just to youngsters that have nothing else to do are wrong. Even a couple of the "men's breakfast club" table were on their cell phones.
Of course, we were only there a few minutes around 9 am, but I suspect that went on all day. Mr. Bruce commented that he wondered how much money McD's made from these people who sat around using free WiFi. I noticed everyone had at least drink cups on the tables, one had a tray of food. I think that a big company like McDonald's knows the bottom line and it's worth it.
Another thing I thought, local fast food places are usually franchises. Which means a member of the community has invested and works in the store, hires local people, pays taxes and supports all the local school sports. (Look at the billboards in school gyms and baseball field, etc and you will see what I mean.)
Having good Internet connection is important to everyone, but very difficult for most rural areas. My friend Becky McCray has some great articles about that on her website Small Biz Survival, please visit it and learn more.
Every little bit along I-44 is a billboard advertising broadband and hi-speed internet. Mr. Bruce has commented several times on the number of signs for it; I usually make some comment about I didn't know what I'd do without fast service. Sitting there watching people on their laptops really brought this to mind, so thankful for good service. I am sure many people in rural areas are very thankful for local business that provide free WiFi.
I certainty don't have a solutions to bringing fast internet to everyone across the good old USA. I do strongly support the movement to provide everyone with the best services at affordable rates. We did that years ago with electricity and home telephones. There are cell towers dotting the landscapes nationwide. It is now time for fast Internet!!