People

Burke felt great about everything for about the first 30 minutes.

He signed the volunteer sheet for the Ketchum County Volunteer Fire Department Family Fire Awareness Day two months before. Four days ago the call came in and his task was to distribute free hot dogs under the canopy tucked neatly between the face painter and the guy making balloon animals for the kids.

His set up was simple, the cooking team would bring him the hot dogs, each was placed in a bun and wrapped in a piece of aluminum foil. On the side of his table stood dispensers for ketchup, mustard, relish and napkins.

For the first 30 minutes, the guests were lovely and the exchange routine. Would you like a hot dog? Yes, thank you. There are condiments over right over there. Oh, very nice – thank you again. Have a lovely day.

After about 30 minutes, the people…changed.

Are these really free?
Do you have any hamburgers? Why not? I really like hamburgers better.
Do you have any onions?
Could I get some chili?
Aren’t you providing anything to drink?
Are these whole wheat buns?
How many calories are in one of these?
Can I have seven? My sister couldn’t come today?
Are these organic?
Were these made in America?
Are these all beef or made from other stuff?
This seems like it could be warmer. Can you have them warm this up for me?
Can I see how they are cooking them?
Do you know how they make hot dogs? If you did, you probably wouldn’t be giving the away.
Is this hot dog tied in any way to the blood diamond trade?
Hot dogs are not very healthy. You should be serving fruit.

As the afternoon wore on, Burke’s smile was firmly in place, and he performed his task admirably. But…it took everything he had not to pelt people, hard, with foil-wrapped wieners. Not because he wanted to. More because…they really deserved it.

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