Running Into Apple's VP Of Retail... In McDonald's

"There you are!"

"Do I know you?"

"No, but there you are!"

Dialogue exchange from the movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

(SOMEWHERE IN MINNESOTA) -- I couldnit find one #$&@* place in town that accepted personal checks.

On my way to visit a customer last Friday, I stopped by McDonaldis in Eagan (southeastern suburb of St. Paul). After placing my order in the drive through, I read the sign that said "No checks."

I cursed to myself and drove off. I went on to visit my customer in Minneapolis. Hunger pulled me aside in Minneapolis, so I stopped at Wendyis. "No checks."

I went ahead and visited my client. Afterwards, Iim driving down Highway 100 in St. Louis Park (suburb west of Minneapolis), I stopped in the McDonaldis near Micro Center. Whadaya know? They take checks.

Standing there, waiting for my order, I see a familiar face.

"Ron Johnson!" I shout. "How ya doini, man?"

It was Ron Johnson, Appleis Senior VP of Retail.

Not missing a beat, Ron steps over and warmly shakes my hand. I figured he had a hard time distinguishing me from Adam, so I helped him out, telling him I was at the store opening in the Mall of America (thatis the MOA for those not from these parts). I asked him, "Things are still looking good at the Mall, eh? I just went in the store last night, and there were people everywhere."

We talked a few seconds and the server told me my order was ready. I got my bag of fine cuisine (cheeseburger and small fry, no onions, please), and as I turned to leave, Ron asked me, "You said that you went to the store last night?"

"Yeah," I said. " I couldnit believe the traffic. Is it true that the MOA has more traffic than Disneyworld?"

We talked some more. I exchanged pleasantries with him, asking how long he is in town, does he get to come home much, etc. I noticed that he was with his little boy, so I decided to leave him alone. I wanted to do an impromptu interview, but I didnit have the heart to mess with a man and his kid. I wanted to ask him to put a good word in for me on a "Mac Genius" position, but I decided otherwise.

From that small conversation, I decided then and there that I like Ron. Heis a really likable guy. I expected an Apple exec to exude power, authority, and intimidation (and to be a vegan, like Steve :-). Pleasant surprise. Iim not complaining.

However, when I was headed back down the highway I remembered that I forgot to ask him why the Apple Stores donit carry logoid merchandise. Oh, well, thereis always next time. Then again, Ron may be making a mental note to himself: "never go back to McDonaldis; that crazy black guy hangs out there."

When he joined up with Apple, I wonder if he really knew what he got himself into.

Welcome to the Church, Ron. I hope you survive the experience.

Rodney O. Lain lives for fast food. When he was a single guy, it was embarrassing to go into any greasy spoon, because all of the "hired help" knew him by name. Nowadays, he tries to serve up fine, rhetorical cuisine with his "iBrotha" column. He lives in Minnesota about 15 minutes from Ron Johnson. Word has it that, upon hearing that, Ron began plans to move.