Was it road rage or poor engineering that lead to the death of Emilio Rodriguez in the drive-thru of a Los Angeles McDonald's this morning? The local resident, who friends say frequented the world's most popular fast food restaurant, was shot and killed by another customer after an argument over their positions in line escalated to violence.
Like other fast food restaurants, McDonald's has started rolling out a dual-position drive-thru design at many locations. Proponents say the tandem layout prevents people from getting stuck behind slower-ordering guests. In Los Angeles, a city plagued by traffic problems, the extra drive-thru lane keeps customers in the parking lot and off the street, where drivers have complained that long lines often spill into the road, adding to congestion.
But not everyone is enthusiastic about the new layout. After ordering, customers return to single file to pay for and pick-up their orders. The merge can cause confusion between customers and lead to uncomfortable confrontations, like the one that ended so tragically today. The incident follows the company's announcement that it plans to install an additional 3rd drive-thru window in many stores next year. Patrons hope the new feature will expedite service and help put the "fast" back in fast food.
Authorities claim it is too early to determine exactly what factors led to the shooting, but they ask customers to be cautious and proceed with courtesy when ordering from their vehicles.