After exams last year, my friends (Paul and Benny) and I had enough of studying and we decided that we wanted to do something fun and challenging. We came up with the idea of creating a cardboard tank and taking it to some drive-thrus to order food.
Building the tank was a very interesting experience. We had never made something so large before so each aspect was a new challenge. We built a frame out of wood and nails, covered it in cardboard and had it spray painted. We also took apart a swivel chair and used its wheels as the wheels for our tank.
It took a couple months of building before we were ready to take it to the drive thrus for Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Harvey’s. Another friend, Ken, came with us to help film the entire experience. We had two people in the tank: one talking through the turret and one pushing at the front. The other two would be filming: one doing a close up and the other filming from afar. We had also attached a camera to the side of the tank facing forwards.
It was a very pleasant day and we bumped into many surprised pedestrians as we pushed the tank to the drive thrus. I distinctly remember meeting a war veteran who stopped to talk to us about how the tank reminded him of his service in the war. We were passed by a couple of cars who honked their horns in support. The reactions from the drive thru staff were varied but emotional. The McDonald’s manager was the only person who was mean to us (he had a condescending attitude and even swore at us). An employee came out afterwards to take a look at the tank and to apologize for our negative experience. The Wendy’s employees were all smiling and laughing. The Harvey’s employees were especially excited and interested in our project. The manager gave us coupons for free burgers because he liked our idea so much.
The drive thru adventure was an engaging experience, but we were completely unprepared for the reaction to our video. A reporter from the Metro News saw a post of our video on Reddit and interviewed us. This led to us being feature on local newspapers, radio stations, news channels and even on Yahoo News.
As I read the comments that people had left us, I was overwhelmed by the support that we had received for our idea. It showed that people appreciated the creativity and effort we had put into building the tank. I was surprised to learn that we had even changed the perceptions of some of the older viewers. I was also told that the reactions of the staff in the video was discussed in a media relations class.
Comments from the Yahoo News article:
“That was definitely a laugh-out-loud moment, seeing a home-made ‘tank’ wobble up to the take-out windows. God love those boys and their infectious ‘can-do’ spirit! (And God love the fast-food workers who know a vehicle when they see one!)”
“Great ingenuity!! Put your minds to work. Who knows what will transpire. Hope the ingenuity follows these fellows throughout their lives. We need all the creative thinkers we can get.
Two thumbs up; a third if I had it!!”
“Teens with imagination, creativity, work spirit and a great sense of humour. A fantastic story showing a side other than hanging out in malls. I personally applaud them.”