10 February 2010

MISSION: Panera Bread on Centre Avenue

Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you an amazing narrative and mission completed by Affiliated Agent M of Pittsburgh. This guy's awe. some. Please keep in mind that we've been experiencing some pretty crazy blizzard-like conditions here. But it didn't stop this Affiliated Agent.

He's so hired. Permanently.

MISSION: Panera Bread, Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Time: Agent did not specify.

Date: 1st attempt: Saturday, 6 February 2010

2nd attempt: Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The package:

  • A card and magnet combo, both with the phrase "To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world."
  • A hand written note on the card:
"A small gift of kindness
Left plainly in full view

A treat of sweets and warm drinks
Is left here just for you."
  • A five dollar Panera card.
  • All held in a tiny gift bag, bespangled with yellow ribbons

The plan:

People always clamour for the seat near an outlet in a coffee shop, to power their laptops. The idea was to claim one of these seats, get some work done, then leave, 'forgetting' the gift so who ever took the seat next would find it. The idea was to try this on Saturday, as I figured the people who braved it out during the snow storm would appreciate it even more, but I couldn't leave a Secret Agent L card. How ever, I was able to do a test run.

Went to the Panera and got 2 gift cards. One would be used in the real mission, in a bag all fancied up. I had another small gift bag, put the card in, and planned to just a gift card as part of my dry run. I grabbed a sandwich and coffee, sat down near the window, plugged in my laptop, and did the usual Facebooking / Twittering time wastes, before settling down and getting a bit of work done.

At one point, I glanced around, saw no one was looking, and pulled my practice package out, and set it down on the chair next to me, behind my bookbag. Now all I had to do was pack up when I was done, leave, and mission complete! Yay!

Except, a few hours later when I went to get up, I knocked the package into the aisle as I was packing up my laptop. A few heads turned, intent on watching the mild scene. Picking it up and just leaving it there would no longer work, someone might say something, plus it would be very odd to just leave a small gift bag there when everyone is watching. Defeated, I grabbed the small gift bag and stuffed it into my backpack.

Agent - 0, Forces of anti-good - 1.

Cut to Tuesday, February 9th.

No work due to the roads, I decide this is the perfect time to try again, for real.

Bagel and coffee, check.
Laptop out and plugged in, check.
Little bag hidden behind my backpack, on the chair next to the wall, check.

It occurs to me that I won't be able to get an image of the package in it's final set up, but I've already gotten this far, I can't stop now. I can only hope Agent L doesn't punish me too much for this broach of protocol.

This time, when I'm packing up, I'm actually a bit nervous. Will someone notice the bag, and do their best to try and help me by pointing it out? I put the earbuds of my iPod in tight, maybe I can just pretend I can't hear them. I so want to look around to make sure no one is noticing me, but doing so will only increase the chance of someone noticing me.

I pack up, grab my coat, and intentionally make sure the last thing I do before leaving the table is pick up the backpack off the chair. It's 93% nervousness of getting caught, 6% excitement, 4% wondering if I could've gotten better pictures or chosen the correct spot, and 2% butterscotch ripple. Hefting the bag on my shoulder doesn't topple the bag over, and I'm doing my best to walk steadily out the door and trying not to let this huge grin that's appeared on my face all of a sudden tip anyone off.

Can't wait for mission 2.

Neither can we, Affiliated Agent M. Neither can we.


Anonymous said...

Dear S.A.L.

Way to go S.A.M.!! It's nice to see that you haven't given up!

Also, I am wondering if you have the artwork file available to be used by affiliated agents? That way, a "Secret Agent L" tag can be found and lead it's finder back to this site!

Otherwise I can create my own. I just thought it'd be nice to keep things uniform :)

I am from the Pacific Northwest and since we haven't had snow in my area for probably a year now, I could find time to venture out on some missions.


Hopeful Secret Agent-To-Be

Gina said...

The whole Secret Agent thing makes me happy - it's so nice to read about kindness. I want in!

I Play Outside The Box said...

I loved this one!! You did good Agent M!

Jennifer said...

Secret Agent L:
I've picked up two of your secret valentines...I suppose I'm just a person who picks up things that seem out of place. Maybe I'll write up a valentine to make up for the extra one I took. Keep up the good work.
- Jen S, A bunny drawer.