If you watched the Super Bowl, you likely saw the ads. There were two of them; the first a rather vague reference to a “new way to pay” coming to a McDonalds Restaurant near you. It showed happy, laughing, dancing and prancing people all ostensibly having the time of their life ordering a Big Mac and fries. The second showed the same type of people, but brought a bit more clarity to the campaign, and in that commercial we learned select people will have the opportunity to “pay with lovin'” the next time they dine at McDonalds.

This is not a new concept. I once wrote about a woman who paid for a couple double cheeseburgers “with lovin'” and got busted for the effort. But that is another story.

Anyhoo, the following morning I can’t say that the McDonalds campaign was at the forefront of my conscious thoughts. I was, like most Americans, toiling on the job, earning the kibble, and wondering how the hell you can throw a pass on 2nd down for a measly one yard push into the end zone. During lunch, which I often eat at my (now standing) desk, I was perusing the news and catching up on events around the country. That is when I came across an article describing McDonalds new “Pay with Lovin'” campaign. According to the story, the campaign will give “select customers a chance to pay for their meal in compliments, a phone call to a loved one, a fist bump or other forms of “lovin'. After customers have ordered food and presented payment, the Guest Service Manager or the Lovin' Lead will inform them of their opportunity to pay with lovin', and they can choose to pay with money or the alternative.”

We should try this in workers' comp. It would be great.

Now, at this point I’m thinking I’d rather pay with cash or do the dishes. I mean, I’ve seen some of the people in line at McDonalds, and I ain’t fist bumping them without a tetanus shot. I’m also thinking they better suspend that program during the third shift bar rush, or they may be dismayed by the type of lovin’ they are exposed to. And I have absolutely no idea what the hell a “Lovin’ Lead” is. Nor do I want to know.

I had no sooner finished reading that article and internally trashing the entire Lovin’ campaign when my cell phone rang. It was my wife. When I answered, she immediately said, “Hi, it’s me. I LOVE YOU!” My immediate response, which I shall explain in a moment, was “Why, what did you do?”

You see my wife and I regularly tell each other “I love you”. We do it every single day, and have for almost 20 years. It may be when I am departing in the morning, or when we go to bed at night. It is often over the phone from cities far apart, ending a call after a long day on the road. The point is, the “I love you” statement always comes at the END of a conversation, never at the beginning. When one of us starts a conversation with “I love you” it means someone has messed up big time; completely screwed the pooch, performed the epic fail. That statement in this context is often followed by something like “I just wrecked your car” or “I just ran over your father in the driveway”. It is an ominous sign of potentially major relationship trouble on the horizon.

So when I heard laughter in the background as she lightheartedly replied, “nothing”, I immediately jumped to the article I had just read, which was in fact still before me on the computer monitor. I asked, “You’re not at McDonalds getting free food, are you?” I didn’t know at the time she had me on speakerphone, and that statement apparently delighted those McDonalds employees within earshot of her phone.

She was in fact getting lunch at McDonalds, and was the very first random customer to be given the opportunity to “pay with lovin'” at this particular location, so it was something of an event there.

So now I’m thinking, “Cool, we just scored free food. What a terrific program.”

Think of how a similar effort could improve relations in workers' comp.

“I'll authorize your prescription refill, but you need to call your mother first and tell her that you love her.”

“Doctor, we'll pay that bill, but only after someone gets a hug.”

“We'll authorize this treatment, but not until you fist bump the nurse in such a manner as to not violate your restrictions. But first let me get the camera.”

What a happy place workers' comp would be. Of course, we'd probably forget to high five the lawyers, and it would soon all be over.

Regardless, it does demonstrate how a personal experience can change your view of a particular program. I still may never be able to understand not running the damn football a miserly 6 inches in the most important play of the biggest game of the year, but when it comes to “paying with lovin'”, I'm in.

In fact, I'm lovin' it.

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