Few people would think that a visit to McDonalds or Starbucks deserved to be called a meaningful event. But events are only meaningful in the context of the person experiencing and telling them.
But how about this? You’re a little girl in Russia, just shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, you’ve experienced food shortages, and then, one day, the first McDonalds opens. That iconic brand you’ve heard about in movies and on TV. It’s a big deal.
Getting some fries, a milkshake and a burger was a big deal—in fact, for many people it was the equivalent of a week’s worth of wages.
And you’d stand in line for three hours waiting for your turn.
Imagine that. You can almost sense the excitement people felt, trying something for the very first time that you’ve never had, and yet that was one of the most popular “restaurants” in the world.
I personally don’t eat that crap—but I totally can imagine what it must have felt like back in those days. Eugenia Kuyda shared this story in an episode of Lex Fridman’s podcast, and it was just a beautiful example of even the most hollow and mundane experiences can make for deeply emotional and meaningful stories.